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, December 5, 2015

Richest 20 People Have More Wealth Than Half Of All Americans

Click here to access article by Dan Wright posted on MintPress News. (Some editing of the following comments was done for clarity at 8:30 AM Seattle time on 12/6/2015.)

The author uses data from reform oriented Institute for Policy Studies, but reaches an insight that suggests reform is likely impossible: the control of our nation by wealthy capitalists has gone beyond what reform can undo. 

What he doesn't understand is that this process of capitalist class dominance has been developing since at least the early part of the 20th century after the defeat of the Populist (read Democratic Promise by Lawrence Goodwyn) and radical labor movements, and finally achieved after WWII with the growth of secret agencies and the purge of all pro-social elements during the McCarthy period. The hidden capitalist directorate, which grew like a cancer within society, finally demonstrated their nearly absolute power over our nation with the assassinations of John and Robert Kennedy, Martin Luther King, and many other important opposition figures during the 1960s.

Massacre Proves Turk, Washington Complicity in Syria Terror

Click here to access article by Finian Cunningham from Strategic Culture Foundation.

This independent free-lance journalist has performed a very significant piece of investigation on a massacre of residents of a Syrian town (see this and this) that happened last year to back up his conclusions in this article. He starts out with the evidence which leads inexorably to the following conclusions:

... as the Kessab massacre demonstrates, the so-called "moderate" FSA [Free Syrian Army] is an integral and indistinguishable component of the proxy terrorist army that Ankara and its Washington ally are supporting to overthrow the elected government of President Assad. Any difference is patently just a figment of imaginative propaganda.

Obama, while at the Paris climate change summit this week (appropriately, a "hot-air" conference of world leaders), has this week reiterated calls on Russia to focus its military campaign on the Islamic State and to halt its aerial attacks on "moderate rebels".

The American president and his Turk ally are in no position to lecture anybody about "terrorists" and "moderates". They are all part of the same criminal gang, and that gang includes Obama and Erdogan.

Lobby Planet Paris: A guide to corporate COP21

Click here to access the introduction to a pamphlet by the above title published by the Transnational Institute (TNI) based in Amsterdam.

The pamphlet is a guide to how global corporations are attempting to co-opt the efforts of the UN climate talks such as the one now being held in Paris. Global polluting corporations have wormed their way into these meetings with their funding and are subverting them to protect and serve corporate interests of profit and power.

Defending climate justice means exposing the actions of polluting companies and their lobbies to the public. This guide will propel you into the heart of the apparatus built up around the Paris Summit. It will introduce you to the anti-climate lobbyists and their false solutions, and expose the magnitude of the fossil fuel industry’s pressure on governments. It offers a window onto the extent of public subsidies to dirty energy, the multiple public-private collusions, and the numerous forms of speculation on the climate crisis. 

America reacts to the Planned Parenthood attack

Click here to access article by Jen Sorensen from her website.

Friday, December 4, 2015

COP21, Climate Action 0

Click here to access article by Rob Urie from CounterPunch.
The past-present-future of capitalist ideology moves seamlessly from a crude and environmentally destructive past to an ‘improving’ but imperfect present to a gleaming, prosperous future. The facts are of these various stages existing together motivated by the promise of a future that never arrives. Dirty production was never left behind and ‘developing’ market capitalism will serve as the locus of outsourced environmental destruction for as long as people will put up with it. Environmental commitments are never but one capitalist crisis away from reversal driven by engineered desperation. The careful parsing of these crises as accidents unrelated to the normal workings of capitalism provides cover for imperial machinations posed as facts of nature.

Clean Energy Ponzi Scheme

Click here to access article from Public Good Project.

This succinct article makes some very important points about the influence of capitalist wealth on solutions to the many environmental crises. 

This Is How ISIS Smuggles Oil

Click here to access article by Mike Giglio of BuzzFeed News.

This reporter based in Istanbul provides a very detailed, valid sounding report about how ISIS uses oil smuggling to fund its various activities in collaboration with Turkish authorities.
Turkey is a focal point in the new international fight against ISIS. Its porous, 565-mile border has been a gateway for the foreign extremists who fill the ISIS ranks — and with sky-high domestic fuel prices, it has been a key market for the oil that funds ISIS.

Syrians Who Fled ISIS’s Capital Say They Were Trapped By Fear And Desperation

Click here to access article by Mike Giglio and Munzer al-Awad from BuzzFeed News

The authors provide a very graphic report of migrants fleeing from an ISIS held territory in Syria which could very well serve as an illustration of why migrants are now flooding into Europe from the Middle East. While terrorist incidents in Paris, San Bernadino, Boston, etc capture headlines in the West, people in this region experience terrorism daily either from terrorist organizations or attacks from Russian and Western bombing raids. 

Thursday, December 3, 2015

How Russia is Smashing the Turkish Game in Syria

Click here to access article by Pepe Escobar from CounterPunch.

To fully understand this analysis, one really needs a knowledge of the complicated Syrian and Iraqi border areas with Turkey and various Kurdish factions. Still, however, I think that this very perceptive Brazilian journalist puts all the important pieces (rat lines or smuggling routes and "safety zones") and players together to form an overall understanding of the current volatile situation in the area. (Unfortunately I can't find a suitable map in time for publishing.)

See also this article entitled "S-300 fully in service in the hands of Damascus and two Iranian squadrons to the T4 in Homs serviced by Russia" from Elijah J M, which I consider a reliable source, for another volatile factor that may influence the outcomes of this complicated war.

Global Angst over US Secrecy Fetish

Click here to access article by Victor Wallis from ConsortiumNews
Given the extreme concentration of weaponry (as well as surveillance capabilities) in the hands of the state, and given the disposition of the state to apply such resources even against nonviolent mass movements, the type of defection practiced by whistleblowers – an option available to military and intelligence operatives at all levels – is crucial to any eventual triumph of popular forces over the ruling class.

Whistleblowers thus not only embarrass the government, disrupt its policies, and (assuming adequate diffusion) educate the citizenry; they also are harbingers of a broader crumbling of the capitalist state and the order it defends. Acting largely in isolation and at great risk to themselves, they embody the conviction – or at least the hope – that basic decency has a more universal grounding than does any possible scheme of oppression.

Climate change and the summit smokescreen

Click here to access an interview with Ian Angus, a Canadian activist and editor of Climate and Capitalism, posted on Socialist Worker

WHY IS it so difficult for them to come up with a serious proposal that will actually make a difference to the climate situation?

FUNDAMENTALLY, GOVERNMENT negotiators say "we'll reduce emissions," but they don't say "we will reduce our use of fossil fuels," which is what they must do to reduce emissions seriously and long term.

Fossil fuels are so fundamental to the operation of capitalism and the world today that serious reductions, if they were even tried under capitalism, would lead to a period of extraordinary economic disruption. Entire industries would have to stop functioning while they retool, and other industries would just have to disappear.

The only time we've had significant reductions in emissions in a major country was after the break-up of the Soviet Union, when the economy of Russia collapsed.

Angus continues on with a controversial argument that advocates radical activists working with what he regards as serious, already established, non-revolutionary groups.

Wednesday, December 2, 2015

Aspiring to Rule the World: US Capital and the Battle for Syria

Click here to access article by Stephen Gowans from his blog What's Left

This article really consists of two essays: 1) an analysis and exposition of what people outside of the US refer to as "bourgeois democracy", and 2) how the latter influences our policies toward Syria. Essay #1 is Gowans' most important contribution. I regard it as a "must read".

Bourgeois democracy can also be described as "capitalist democracy" because the capitalist class created this fake form of democracy after they took control of the US and France during their revolutions and more gradually in Britain. It became the model that all capitalist countries at least aspire to. This form was a product of capitalist class rule disguised as democracy because of the early embryonic capitalist classes need for the support of the lower classes (peasants, laborers, skilled craftsman, etc) to overturn the rule of monarchs and aristocracy. Thus the lower classes were induced to support the capitalist revolutionaries with vague promises of "freedom" and the rule of law celebrated with such slogans as "liberté, égalité, fraternité". What they really seriously advocated was the sanctity of private property.

Gowans essay #1 provides a very concise understanding of how the capitalist class rules the US behind the facade of "democracy". 

Deutschland 83: The Spy Thriller Is Watching You!

Click here to access article by Joseph Waters from Russia Insider.

Ordinary Americans are seldom conscious of propaganda that is fed to them via corporate media news programs and much less by their entertainment programs. But their propaganda is in the latter in a much more insidious form. Thus it is mandatory for all politically conscious Americans to be aware of all forms of propaganda that corporations are using to manipulate people in support of their many nefarious projects of profits and power. This author contributes to that effort by analyzing the propaganda content in the TV entertainment program series called "Deutschland 83".
Deutschland 83 is another example of “entertainment propaganda” - fictional entertainment laced with propaganda messages - in which anti-heroes are used to reach a left-leaning audience. These individuals are drawn to the anti-hero because he or she personifies the moral ambivalence, disorder and confusion in a society. For those who have difficulty in seeing everything around them in either black or white, the anti-hero’s stumbling path to redemption appeals to their own sense of the complexity, uncertainty and shifting realities of the modern world.

From Pol Pot to ISIS: The Blood Never Dried

Click here to access article by John Pilger from his blog. 
ISIS is the progeny of those in Washington, London and Paris who, in conspiring to destroy Iraq, Syria and Libya, committed an epic crime against humanity. Like Pol Pot and the Khmer Rouge, ISIS are the mutations of a western state terror dispensed by a venal imperial elite undeterred by the consequences of actions taken at great remove in distance and culture. Their culpability is unmentionable in “our” societies, making accomplices of those who suppress this critical truth.
In this essay the independent Australian journalist provides a history of the Empire's horrific terrorist actions which have provided fertile ground for indigenous terrorist armies. However his essay is flawed by a myopic view that only targets ruling class directors and functionaries instead of a capitalist system-backed empire that makes such crimes not only likely but necessary. In addition he doesn't adequately distinguish the incidental fostering of the terrorist army of Pol Pot from the intentionally designed terrorism of ISIS. Instead he leaves us with only a moral condemnation of crimes committed by crazy evil-doers acting out their sadistic fantasies on innocent people.

Tuesday, December 1, 2015

Reviewing Force Multipliers [an introduction to must-read materials]

by Maximilian Forte from Zero Anthropology and archived at Encircling Empire

The materials related to the book Force Mulitipliers are extremely important to understand for all people concerned about the direction that the US Empire in its unending search for profits and power seems to heading. The direction is impelled by the system of imperialist capitalism whose directors employ so many new instruments of deception and proxies which they describe as "force multipliers" as well as raw force more typical of earlier forms of capitalist imperialism. It is the new instruments which have been studied and revealed in detail by this author.

I spent a lot of time reading related materials and the original source (pdf format) from a new book entitled FORCE MULTIPLIERS: The Instrumentalities of Imperialism by Forte. The book can be ordered through Lulu Press for about $10 (incl. postage) or read online (I prefer a hard copy and ordered it). Probably the most efficient way of accessing his ideas is a 68 slide show presentation located near the bottom of this posted introduction--here is the direct link.

Here is the "Overview" or introduction from the second slide:
In the drive to accumulate ever more global power for the US state and its allies, both political and corporate, the quest for totalization [global domination] confronts the challenge of “overreach”. To operate using smaller efforts to carry larger loads, US strategists have devised what they call “force multipliers”. Force multiplication is about “leverage”: using partners and proxies in an expanding network. Forces are conceptualized in multi-dimensional terms. Anything in the world of cultural systems, social relationships, and material production can become force multipliers for imperialism: food security, oil, electricity, young leaders, aid, social media, NGOs, women’s rights, schoolgirls, democratization, elections, the G8, the European Union, NATO, the IMF, the World Bank, the World Economic Forum, AFRICOM, development, policing, borders, and epidemics, among others.

Putin’s Revenge? The Fight for the Border

Click here to access article by Mike Whitney from CounterPunch.

Whitney (my "neighbor" in Washington state) finds that the Russian actions are exposing the many lies and false flags used to hide the Empire's project to turn Syria into another failed state that can be controlled to serve the interests of the Empire.

Can you imagine when a request was made by a prominent Iraqi official to attack ISIS (Daesh) oil tankers how this might have caused a US Empire director to pause a few moments to figure out a reasonable answer? Finally the director came up with this excuse: "Daesh trucks that sell oil are ‘civilian targets’ to US"!

To learn more about the various terrorist groups operating in Syria, an article from Sputnik entitled "The Land of Terror: Is Daesh Syria’s Only Deadly Menace on the Ground?" appears to offer some valid answers.

Monday, November 30, 2015

Guess Why The U.S. Is Not (Seriously) Bombing ISIS's Oil Business

Click here to access article by Bernhard from Moon of Alabama
The U.S. did not start bombing the Islamic State's oil infrastructure and oil distribution system until the Russian president Putin shamed U.S. President Obama at the G20. Putin showed around satellite pictures of huge oil truck assemblies waiting in the desert to be filled. These were through 13 month of bombing left completely unmolested by U.S. air strikes. The U.S. then bombed a bit and claimed to have destroyed 116 waiting oil trucks while the Russians claimed to have destroyed over 1,000.

So far I have found four reasons given to explain why the U.S. did not bomb, and does not seriously bomb,  the oil truck convoys.

Turkey Refines and Sells Stolen Syrian and Iraqi Oil for ISIS

Click here to access article by Stephen Lendman from Global Research.
Erdogan is an international outlaw, He’s supporting ISIS, US proxy foot soldiers in Syria, Iraq and elsewhere, directly involved in their oil smuggling, refining and sales worth hundreds of millions of dollars on the black market.

America and other Western  nations are well aware of what’s going on, doing nothing to stop it, aiding it by inaction and/or direct support – Russia alone intervening by bombing ISIS’ truck pipeline, transporting oil along with its facilities in Syria.
Read also this piece entitled "Turkey's links to Islamic State" by Timothy Bancroft-Hinchey from Pravda.  

Moving Closer to Europe: ISIL Sets Its Sights on Expansion in Libya

Click here to access article from Sputnik (based in Russia).
The Islamic State has increased its presence in the Mediterranean city of Sirte in Libya from 200 fighters at the start of the year to a force of 5,000 men, including administrators and financiers; the base is the first to be directly established by ISIL outside Syria and Iraq, and brings the terrorists closer to Europe.
This report is corroborated by a similar report in the Wall Street Journal. It has been speculated that the large buildup in Libya has been from ISIS soldiers fleeing from Syria where their forces have been besieged by Russian and Coalition bombing raids, and ground forces of the Syrian and Kurdish armies.

Big Oil, TTIP And The Scramble For Europe

Click here to access article by Colin Todhunter from East by Northwest.
TTIP is too often presented by officials and sections of the corporate media as constituting a well thought out recipe for job creation and economic growth. This depiction forms part of the neoliberal globalisation paradigm that sanctifies the notion of ‘free trade’. In reality, however, what we actually have is trade and markets that are anything but ‘free’: markets are rigged, commodity manipulated and nations coerced, destabilised or attacked in order that powerful players gain access to resources and markets under the banner of free trade and democratic freedoms.

The TTIP is a mandate for corporate plunder and, given recent revelations, for major polluters. It represents a pro-privatisation agenda that enshrines the privileges of the world’s most powerful corporations at the expense of ordinary people, the environment and the climate.
The ultimate aim of TTIP is to draw Europe closer to the US and divide the European continent by side-lining Russia.

The secretive trade agreements that could scupper climate change ​action​

Click here to access article from Grain
While all the focus and hope for tackling climate change is on COP 21 in Paris, starting today, secretive global trade deals are already negating any commitments that might be made at the summit.

Hillary Clinton 2016 election parody song: emails, Benghazi and Bill

Click here if you wish to access the video and/or lyrics directly from TomoNews channel at YouTube.

For your amusement on this Monday after a long holiday weekend.

Sunday, November 29, 2015

NATO’s Terror Convoys Halted at Syrian Border

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

Cartalucci once again scores with this piece which exposes one of the most dramatic grand schemes in history to crush a sovereign country. Once again he uses solid arguments and evidence to support his exposé. 
Russia’s increased activity along the Syrian-Turkish border signifies the closing phases of the Syrian conflict. .... It is likely Syrian forces will arrive and secure this region as well.

For those that have criticized Russia’s air campaign claiming conflicts can’t be won from the air without a ground component, it should be clear by now that the Syrian Arab Army is that ground component, and has dealt ISIS and Al Qaeda its most spectacular defeats in the conflict.

When this corridor is closed and supplies cut off, ISIS, Nusra, and all associated NATO-backed factions will atrophy and die as the Syrian military restores order across the country. This may be why there has been a sudden “rush” by the West to move assets into the region, the impetus driving the United States to place special forces into Syrian territory itself, and for Turkey’s ambush of a Russian Su-24 near the Syrian-Turkish border....
And, I might add to the last sentence, proposals by many US officials advocating the creation of "safe zones" in northern Syrian to continue their supply lines to their proxy terrorist armies.

Confession of a CIA Agent: They gave us millions to dismember Yugoslavia

Click here to access an interview with a former CIA agent who provides some details of the agency's operation to dismember Yugoslavia. Note that the interview was first published by a Serbian source and translated by the staff at this Serbian-British website, but it is also being picked up by several North American websites.

It often takes years for informed people to leak information about the many nefarious projects sponsored by the Empire's directors. In the destabilization of Yugoslavia we learn from a former CIA case officer some of the details and US government lies almost 25 years after the dirty deeds were done. Note once again the use of NGOs and the bribing of local Yugoslavian media owners to spread lies.
Robert Baer, ​​a former CIA officer, has authored many books which disclosed the secrets of both the CIA and the administrations of Bill Clinton and George W. Bush. He has been arrested and detained several times. Mitt Waspurh, a personal friend who worked at the Senate and shared information was killed at gunpoint. As a senior CIA operative, Baer worked in Yugoslavia during the 1991-94 period and in the Middle East. He has worked on several documentaries on National Geographic, accusing the Bush administration of waging war for oil.

The interview was conducted live in Canada, during my trip a few days ago. Robert Baer is currently promoting his book “The Secrets of the White House” in Quebec, where we talked. In an interview we spoke of the background of the war in Yugoslavia.

Open Letter. Please Stop the Hate

Click here to access article by Rowan Wolf from Uncommon Thought Journal.

In our era of globalization we see the same fear/hate methods used by capitalist elites everywhere in the world to control people. We in the USA are certainly no exception to this pattern. One recent illustration of this is the use of fear and hate to promote terrorism targeting Planned Parenthood facilities.
All the hype and repetition aside, the “videos” of the supposed “horrendous” acts of Planned Parenthood are hoaxes. They are cobbled together, and highly edited, to create a story that is not true. Our political leaders (and wanna be leaders) know this, yet some keep pointing to them to rouse us to anger and pull us to support them. Now someone has decided to take justice for a fabricated crime into their own hands in Colorado Springs and 3 people lie dead … because of the lies. [my link]

We have all seen the horror of the attacks in Paris. This has been taken up by some political leaders (and wanna be leaders) to fear monger the population.

Building a global climate movement: COP21 and beyond

Click here to access article by Tabitha Spence from Revolutionary Socialism in the 21st Century (rs21) [Britain]. 
What has become abundantly clear is that...the crisis consists in the fact that the old is dying, but the new cannot yet be born. We are seeing death and destruction on a massive scale as a direct and indirect consequence of climate change, but remain stuck within a logic that insists on putting profits above humanity and the very conditions of our existence.

As we have witnessed in all past failed attempts to reduce emissions, breaking the deadlock cannot occur without recognising the roots of the fundamentally oppressive and exploitative system, and then taking a clear position against it.

What Passing a Key CO2 Mark Means to Climate Scientists

Click here to access article by Andrea Thompson and Brian Kahn from Climate Central.
Humans have burned enough fossil fuels to drive atmospheric CO2 to levels that world hasn’t seen in at least 400,000 years. That’s driven up temperatures, melted ice and caused oceans to acidify. Some extreme weather events around the world have become more likely and stronger because of it, and some will likely only get worse as the planet continues to warm.
Because CO2 sits in the atmosphere long after it’s burned, that means we’ve  likely lived our last week in a sub-400 ppm world. It also means that the reshaping of our planet will continue for decades and centuries to come, even if climate talks in Paris in two weeks are successful.

The elephant in Paris – the military and greenhouse gas emissions

Click here to access article by Nick Buxton from Common Dreams.
A close look at [US] military climate change strategies reveals that their focus is on securing borders, protecting trade supply-routes for corporations, controlling conflicts around resources and instability caused by extreme weather, and repressing social unrest. They turn the victims of climate change into ‘threats’ to be controlled or combated. There is no critical examination of the military’s own role in enforcing a corporate-dominated fossil-fuel economy that has caused the climate crisis.

In fact, there is evidence that many players in this corporate-military-security industrial nexus are already seeing climate change not just as a threat but an opportunity.