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 LappĆ©, excerpt from Time for Progressives to Grow Up

Saturday, November 14, 2015

Declining Pax Americana

Click here to access the latest 28:16m CrossTalk program from RT. (Note: the discussion in this particular program starts of with the panelist's comments about Defense Sec. Carter's recent aggressive statements about Russia and China. You may want to listen to a 2:58m extract from Carter's speech or read this report of his speech before listening to the discussion.)
The U.S. Defense Secretary Ashton Carter recently made a speech that was as direct as it was blunt. Emerging global powers such as Russia and China are a threat to the Washington-centric world and need to be challenged. Well now…who is upping the ante? CrossTalking with Pepe Escobar, Patrick Henningsen, and Daniel Wagner.

Attack in France = State Sponsored Terror, But Which State?

Click here to access article by Tony Cartalucci from New Eastern Outlook.
The first and most important question in examining any great crime is “cui bono?” or to whose benefit? Attacking Paris, and in particular a football match full of nationalists already increasingly violent and hysterical seems to only benefit a government seeking further justification to wage wider war abroad – a war it is currently losing and a war it currently lacks wide public support to continue fighting. It now, all so conveniently, has the support it was looking for.
And you might be interested in this post from Cartalucci coming in after my publishing deadline entitled "CONFIRMED: French Government Knew Extremists BEFORE Attack" from Land Destroyer Report

Questions for Operation Gladio, German Intelligence Amidst Paris Carnage

Click here to access article from Stateless Homesteading.
Less than 24 hours after these horrific events, it’s certainly too early to draw any substantive conclusions as to what truly occurred in Paris last night, aside from tragic loss of human life; it is, however, the opportune time to pose questions.

And the events leading up to and surrounding the havoc in Paris assuredly warrant our curiosity.

Saudi Arabia’s Syrian adventures may soon be over [updated at 2 PM]

Click here to access article by Salman Rafi from Asia Times Online
[Salman Rafi Sheikh is a freelance journalist and research analyst of international relations and Pakistan affairs. His area of interest is South and West Asian politics, the foreign policies of major powers, and Pakistani politics.]
From the article:
Reports of Saudi king’s possible visit to Russia indicate that Saudi Arabia’s adventurism in Syria is coming to a close.

According to the Russian presidential press secretary, Dmitry Peskov, the visit of Saudi King Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud to Russia is being worked out and agreed through diplomatic channels.

This shows Riyadh is ready to reach a ‘compromised solution’ on the Syrian crisis – a solution that may not be what the US seems to be attempting to achieve through its renewed engagement in Syria and Iraq and its (possible) policy of balkanization of Syria into different “safe zones.”
 
The possibility as argued by Rafi seems very realistic. This medieval kingdom and their associates are, and have been, a major anchor of US Empire policies. The reverberations of such a Saudi pivot to Russia would result in far more consequences than Saudi "Syrian adventures". Can you imagine how such a possibility is causing Empire directors to suffer collective apoplexy?

Note (a late post): You may be also may be interested in this post by F. William Engdahl entitled "Saudi Russo Rapprochement Back on Track" from New Eastern Outlook.

Friday, November 13, 2015

If We Don't Change the Way Money Is Created and Distributed, Rising Inequality Will Trigger Social Disorder

Click here to access article by Charles Hugh Smith from his blog Of Two Minds

Because this writer is a true believer of the TINA principle, he can not see that the privatization of money, like most everything else of value, is an integral part of capitalism. However, he does see at least some of the adverse consequences that this private control of money causes.

One devastating consequence for workers especially is that they are the ones who suffer most when the bankers, central and otherwise, issue credit for production of goods and services beyond which consumers can afford to buy. That is precisely why we have experienced so many economic booms and busts. 

But this is a relentless tendency of capitalist enterprise: obsessive investment in profit-producing goods and services--not to satisfy needed goods and services. That is why the industry of advertising is so critically required for this system to function: to inculcate the desire for goods and services beyond those that are needed. 

An added bonus that the system of capitalism provides is the overwhelming political power given to those who "own" and control the most wealth. The latter inevitably tend to form a ruling class. I argue "tend" because it is not clear to me if this principle applies "inevitably" to the Russia and China whose governments have only adopted the system recently, and appear to be trying to control their capitalists in the service of the state, as they see it.

Socialist revolution: Not a new idea

Click here to access article by Deirdre Griswold from Workers World.

Griswold, a longtime activist with the Workers World Party, offers an alternative view of the history of socialist revolutions and the prospects of a successful revolution in this century. 

Global warming drains the water of life

Click here to access article by Tim Radford from Climate News Network
New research warns that rising temperatures are reducing the mountain snow on which billions of people in lowland areas depend for their water supply.
We have certainly seen the effects of snow pack depletion in the Seattle region. Last year most ski areas were closed for the entire season.

Thursday, November 12, 2015

Now that we can see the TPP text, we know why it’s been secret

Click here to access article by Pete Dolack from Systemic Disorder

Dolack provides samples of the TPP original text to illustrate why this clever fascistic proposal was made secret and how the neoliberal trade pact would further decimate what passes for "democracy" in capitalist countries.
The TPP, if enacted, promises a race to the bottom: An acceleration of jobs to the countries with the lowest wages, the right of multi-national corporations to veto any law or regulation their executives do not like, the end of your right to know what is in your food, higher prices for medicines, and the subordination of Internet privacy to corporate interests. There is a reason it has been negotiated in secret, with only corporate executives and industry lobbyists consulted and allowed to see the text as it took shape.
Corporations, increasingly in the form of financial as well as industrial corporations, are the engines of capitalism. They generate the profits and create the power which enables our masters to determine all important decisions made in our respective capitalist countries. 

I don't use fascism or its derivative words carelessly. The essence of fascism is corporate rule. The historical fact that fascism was first demonstrated in Germany, Italy, and Japan using authoritarian methods does not change the central character of fascism. These capitalist nations of the 1930s used violence or the threat of violence to accomplish their aims. This updated form of fascism is merely trying to use the fake apparatus of capitalist "democracy" to accomplish the same aims for the advanced capitalist countries in the 21st century--global domination.

The added component of secrecy was essential in order to keep what they were doing out of the public spotlight. But secrecy was never really a novel component. Capitalist ruling classes have always used secrecy, along with deception, as a component of their rule. Important decisions have always been make behind closed doors whether in Congress, the Executive, the Judiciary: and in recent times especially in capitalist "think tanks" such as the Council on Foreign Relations and the Brookings Institution.

You might also be interested in economist Dean Baker's contribution to understanding TTP by reading his article entitled "The TPP's Children's Table: Labor Rights and Currency" from TruthOut.

Did Russia just “gently” threaten the USA?

Click here to access article from A bird's eye view of the Vineyard

The heating up of US - Russian relations as most recently manifested in Syria may be heading for a nuclear conflagration as suggested by "The Saker" in this article. Putin and the Russian government appear to have exhausted all their patience with the increasing aggressiveness demonstrated by the directors of the Empire. It appears to me and experts of Russian matters like "The Saker" (and others) that Russia has drawn a red line beyond which the Empire dare not tread. So it appears that our survival depends of the good sense of the directors--which is very suspect.
The sad thing is that US analysts all fully understand that but they have no say in a fantastically corrupt Pentagon.  The real purpose of the US program is not to protect anybody against a non-existing Russian threat, but to dole out billions of dollars to US corporations and their shareholders.  And if in the process the US destabilizes the entire planet and threatens the Russians – then “to hell with ‘em Russikes!  We are the indispensable nation and f**k the rest of the planet!”
Meanwhile, back at the headquarters of the Empire's ranch, the US, most people appear to be completely passive and distracted by consuming the Empire's latest gadgets and entertainment. Perhaps ignorance is bliss. Or maybe not!

Big-Pharma's Latest, Most Sickening Crime Against Humanity

Click here to access article by Tony Cartalucci from LocalOrg
By dangling life-changing cures over people's heads for cartoonish figures of "1 million dollars," pharmaceutical corporations prove when they see sick, desperate, dying people, all they see is dollar signs...

Netanyahu Ups the US Ante

Click here to access article by retired Col. Ann Wright from ConsortiumNews.
President Barack Obama, having met with Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu on Nov. 9 at the White House, is considering Israel’s request for a 50 percent increase of nearly $1.5 billion in U.S. military funding, which would bring the U.S. donation – used for killing Palestinians in the West Bank and Gaza – to $4.5 billion a year.

As it stands now, more that half of the U.S. foreign military aid for 2016 goes to Israel. As in all things, Israel gets special treatment by the U.S. allowing Israel to spend 25 percent of its U.S. gift to pay itself for buying weapons from its own weapons industry.

Wednesday, November 11, 2015

Military Capitalism

Click here to access article by Maximilian Forte from Zero Anthropology.

The author explains how many civilian sectors and the military establishment in recent decades have been integrated with implications for US foreign policies.
Since the creation of the Overseas Security Advisory Council (OSAC) in 1985 under the Reagan administration, the State Department has been involved in “security cooperation” with US “private sector interests worldwide”. Since 1985, universities, churches, and NGOs have been added to the State Department’s list of security partners. This arrangement is directly the result of demands placed on the state by US corporations: “The increase in terrorism over the last 30 years and the continuing threat against U.S. interests overseas has forced many American companies to seek advice and assistance from the U.S. Government, particularly the State Department”.

Higher Education: Capitalism At Its Most Despicable

Click here to access article by Paul Buchheit from Common Dreams
Rating capitalist despicability is a daunting task with Big Pharma and High Finance in the running, but Higher Ed's betrayal of a century-old trust with young Americans vaults it toward the top of the list. 

Controlling Consciousness

Click here to access article from Public Good Project.

This article offers a highly condensed, but accurate, view of how our capitalist masters are able to use mind control techniques known as "public relations" to create a mass consciousness that supports their rule.

Who Granted the GMO Evangelists the Monopoly on Compassion?

Click here to access article by Colin Todhunter from CounterPunch

Todhunter has been communicating and arguing with some of the loudest defenders of corporate-GMO industrial scale farming methods. He has discovered that they, instead of looking at sound evidence and using rational arguments, resort to scurrilous attacks and/or wrap themselves in "humanitarian" righteousness. If the latter sounds familiar to you, it is because it has been a frequent excuse used by US Empire directors to justify their numerous invasions, subversions, false-flag operations, war crimes, and crimes against humanity.

Whenever a governing elite, or sociopathic individual, pursues its/his own interests at the expense or harm to others, such people resort to the shrillest attacks on anyone impeding their efforts and/or attempt to wrap themselves in righteousness. Capitalists do this, and have always done this, throughout their 400 year history simply because the operation of their system is designed to serve their selfish interests at the expense of the vast majority of humans.  

In contrast to these sociopathic defenders, Todhunter fills his articles with links to solid evidence and uses rational arguments to attack a system of farming that is displacing people from their land, causing widespread poverty and inequality, and ruining the health of people who consume the food produced by this form of industrialized farming.

Ten lies we're told to justify the slaughter of 20 million in the First World War

Click here to access article by Dominic Alexander from CounterFire [Britain].

This is in remembrance of Veterans Day which was formerly Armistice Day commemorating the end of WWI. It is still Remembrance Day to the Brits, Canadians, etc.
Dominic Alexander debunks ten myths used by politicians and historians to rebrand World War 1 in the centenary of its outbreak.

Tuesday, November 10, 2015

Graph of the day illustrates countries should sacrifice ‘growth’ during COP21, the Paris climate summit

Click here to access article by Rolf Schuttenhelm from bits of science.
It illustrates one clear message to world leaders just before the Paris climate summit: The effective global climate policy that we need – cannot come without ‘economic sacrifice’. To breach the emissions trend – we need to reconsider the importance of growth to our collective well-being. And you, world leaders, have just three weeks left to think about that – think hard, and make the right decisions.

Emissions need to go DOWN – globally, immediately.
The problem is that capitalism must have growth. So class, what's the solution?

Syria: why the West meddling into a 3000 years old realm has failed

Click here to access article by Judith Bello from blog The Destructed Globe. (Note: This post consists of her introduction about, and her experience with, the panel of which she was a member. It is well worth reading. Her presentation as a panel member follows the introduction.)

This is an excellent illustration of an ordinary, although well educated, person who is working now on behalf of truth and peace in the Middle East, and is blogging and speaking about this experience. This article is a transcript of a presentation she recently delivered at a New York state college where she was invited on a panel to express her views about current Syrian matters along with two professors from that school. She has been a frequent traveler to Iran and is a member of the Fellowship of Reconciliation and Code Pink.

Note how her presentation differed from the two professors who have been subject to  indoctrination and discipline throughout their academic careers.

Intimacy Against Alienation

Click here to access a 55 minute interview with Mitch Mansour provided by KPFA, a listener sponsored radio station in Berkeley, California. Mansour is a doctoral candidate in the Department of Sociology at the U. of Oregon. His doctoral dissertation focused on this topic.
Is a romantic partner a replacement for the community that people used to rely on to meet their material and emotional needs? Mitch Monsour thinks so; he points to the competitive and individualistic nature of our society, the way economic rationality gets enacted in the romantic arena, and the structural obstacles to real intimacy.
Human beings are quintessentially social animals, and historically humans have received physical and emotional supports from a wide variety of sources within a community. Mansour argues, and provides evidence for, a phenomenon seen in US society of increasing isolation, both physical and psychological, with the result that romantic love is seen as the solution to isolation. This imposes an impossible burden on one's partner to provide the social supports that characterized earlier social relations. 

Capitalist influences has also shaped this relationship by encouraging consumption by these partnerships and individualistic competition in general. The commodification of everything under capitalism interferes with supportive values even within the partnership. This influences how people enter the partnership "marketplace" with pronounced focus on how much a prospective partner person can provide a person in terms of wealth and status. People tend to be interested in what they can get out of a relationship which interferes with real intimacy. Thus, most relationships fail.

Monday, November 9, 2015

MSM and the Bear

Click here to access article by Michael Jabara Carley from Strategic Culture Foundation.

Mostly with cartoons from mainstream media, Carley illustrates the Empire's use of their powerful propaganda organs to disseminate themes that serve their interests of global domination. President Putin of Russia, like anyone that pursues an independent course of action, has long since become a target for Empire attacks and ridicule. 

Because Empire media has enjoyed so many years of success in distorting reality for ordinary Americans by hiding ruling class war crimes behind "humanitarian" causes, by supporting whatever stories emanating from government officials, whether named or not, they continue to do what they do best--the manufacturing of consent to Empire policies and actions. 

American fascists (if you are not sure what fascism is, see my commentaries here, here, here, and here) have long recognized the value of managing the minds of ordinary Americans instead of resorting to the brutal use of force of classic fascism. This orientation probably dates from WWI when American ruling class directors saw the necessity of preparing ordinary Americans to enter the European war because they feared that their allies, Britain and France, to whom they had lent so much money, might very well lose the war. They launched a massive propaganda campaign that used the grossest forms of negative propaganda portraying Germans as sadistic animals on the prowl to devour all good people. The success of this propaganda to turn American minds around from being against participation into support for US entry into the war was beyond their wildest dreams. This lesson has stayed with them ever since.

In the 1930s when all capitalist ruling classes were split down the middle on the issue of supporting German fascism, American fascists used a cover of isolationism to impede all efforts to come to the aid of all nations trying to defend themselves from fascist invasions. (There were genuine anti-war people (among opinion leaders), but the serious ones made up no more than 10% of isolationists.) The ruling capitalist class once again used their mainstream media to turn people, but this time it was against war or any effort to prevent Nazis from having their way. They used the media to portray the spread of fascism across Europe as only a problem for Europe, and later Asia. Many ordinary Americans swallowed their lies whole.

The first fascist victum was Spain that had elected a left-wing republican government in 1931. All major liberal capitalist nations remained neutral while German and Italian fascist regimes starting in 1936 tore the country to pieces and installed the fascist Franco regime. Because of the split in the European capitalist countries, Nazi Germany easily overran one country after another. Only when when the Nazis posed a threat to the British Empire did American fascists (aka "isolationists") give their grudging support for US aid to Britain. But it took the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor, a military base in Hawaii, to bring the US into the war against fascism.

While recently reading the letters of FDR, I learned of the strong opposition in American mainstream media to aiding any of the Allies of WWII. FDR remarked on this frequently. He saw from 85-90% of mainstream media fitting into this virulent "isolationist" opposition. In addition this extremely popular president was opposed by the same crowd on nearly all of his New Deal programs which provided some relief to poverty stricken ordinary Americans during the Great Depression. He was so stymied from getting his views out that he had to resort to using radio, known as Fireside Chats, to communicate directly to Americans.

The US capitalist class's use of media, education, and entertainment to shape consent to their policies and actions is grossly misunderstood and underestimated. I believe that it is absolutely imperative that a dedicated effort must be made to establish alternative media as a major part of a strategy to take power away from this class and establish a true rule of, by, and for the people.

Former Japanese Ambassador calls on IOC to cancel 2020 Olympics over Fukushima Risks

Click here to access article from nsnbc
The former Japanese Ambassador to Switzerland, Mitshei Murata, has called on the President of the International Olympic Committee to move the 2020 Olympics from Tokyo or to cancel the games over the situation at the crippled Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant. 

Sunday, November 8, 2015

Saudi Arabia is at a Dangerous Crossroads

Click here to access article by Viktor Mikhin from New Eastern Outlook.

I don't normally run articles in which speculate too much about world politics--the online world is full of them. However I am running this article because it is not only posted on a reputable website (although with an emphasis on issues important to Russia), but because I have read numerous other reports that support the facts presented in the article. Regardless of what we think of this medieval kingdom, it does play a very important role in major conflicts and geopolitical issues. Thus, it is important that we stay informed as much as we can about the kingdom's politics.
...many members of the Saudi Royal Family are concerned about the situation which has come about after the new King Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud came to power. According to the Egyptian newspaper, the Egyptian Gazette, the changes that have occurred in the Kingdom’s foreign and domestic policy in less than 9 months of King Salman’s reign have cause a growing number of problems in both the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and abroad. Dissatisfaction among the Saudis has risen to a new level.
All of this is reflected in a letter that members of the Royal Family received from one of the younger princes. [my link]
See also this article by Pepe Escobar entitled "What’s the Big Deal Between Russia and the Saudis?".

The Indonesian Massacre: What Did the US Know?

Click here to access article by Margaret Scott from The New York Review of Books.

This is a second posting of the 50 year anniversary of the Indonesian Massacre that was engineered in large part by the CIA. (See my first post which includes more linked resources here.) It is one of history's most notorious crimes against humanity. Thus, no one who knows about it want to talk about it simply because they are related to the perpetrators of this crime. However, many people especially in Indonesia, less so here in the US, want to know about it, and are asking questions. Even the CIA was pressured to release their classified documents, which of course were heavily redacted.
Since the late 1990s, however, there have been growing efforts to recover that history. In 1998, Indonesians rose up against Suharto, whose military dictatorship had lasted thirty-two years. This movement, known as reformasi, and Suharto’s fall, brought new scrutiny to the events of 1965. Many Indonesians rebelled against the taboo of talking about the mass killings, which they began investigating through journalism, books, and films. In recent years, local organizations have also sought to locate the mass graves and assist the survivors. These efforts have been aided by US records. In 2001, despite the efforts of the CIA to prevent it, the US released Foreign Relations of the United States, 1964-1968, a State Department volume that included long-secret government documents from that period. It describes how US officials pushed for the annihilation of the PKI, providing covert assistance and urging the Indonesian army to complete the job.
Being published in a liberal source, Scott sticks to the Empire policy of describing Empire targets, even when they are extremely popular as was Sukarno, in unflattering terms:
At the time, Indonesia was led by the leftist, romantic revolutionary-turned-autocrat Sukarno, and also had the third largest Communist Party in the world, the PKI, with some 3 million members.

Federal Budget plans billions for war, cuts to services

Click here to access article by Peter Gilbert from Workers World

Although this article was posted on November 5, it apparently written before October 29. To bring you up-to-date, the law was passed by Congress and signed into law since then. Otherwise this article provides a summary of the main features of the budget that just passed and signed into law. 
The basic deal increases the federal budget by $80 billion for the next two years, $50 billion in the first year and $30 billion in the second year. About half of the increase is earmarked only for the Pentagon, the remainder for unspecified “discretionary spending.” Those increases come at the cost of massive cuts to Medicare and Social Security payments to workers with disabilities (SSDI). The deal also includes additional funding of $32 billion dollars in the “Overseas Contingency Operations Fund” (OCO), to fund the ongoing U.S. imperialist aggression against Syria, Iraq and Afghanistan.

The little understood dymanic of capitalism

by cartoonist Dan Wasserman.