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 12, 2015

What’s class got to do with it?

Click here to access article by David F. Ruccio from his blog Occasional Links & Commentary.

This economist posts a graph from the St. Louis Federal Reserve to dramatically show the constant increasing inequality in the US, particularly accelerating after every recession. It seems that our capitalist class masters like recessions because they present opportunities for them to increase their wealth (and its associated power). He also provides a commentary on an an article--from a site supported by a government workers union--whose author, Jared Bernstein, provides many graphs of a similar nature.


However Ruccio complains about the lack of examination of the system of capitalism contained in Bernstein's series of articles. Such myopia is a disease of many union writers and organizers, and likely the reason that unions have declined in both membership and influence.

AFRICOM’s Secret Empire: US Military Turns Africa Into ‘Laboratory’ Of Modern Warfare

Click here to access article from Mint Press News.
The Obama administration has overseen an unprecedented expansion of American military might on the African continent, with dozens of bases and outposts opening there since he took office.
The article draws our attention to a very unreported phenomenon by corporate media which serves only the interest of capitalism's ruling class. Only alternative media like Mint Press can offer this kind of reporting. Unfortunately it seems that most American minds, and indeed most minds throughout the US-led Empire, have been captured and controlled by the Empire's corporate media. 

Can We Have Our Climate and Eat It Too?

Click here to access article by Richard Heinberg from Post Carbon Institute

Heinberg, who has been sounding the alarm over the of global warming for a long time, responds to a recent article (authored by Eduardo Porter) that expresses the ruling capitalist class's view on this issue: "there is no alternative" or (TINA), which was recently printed in the NY Times, the semi-official source of our ruling class. Heinberg writes:
If our market economy cannot work on a finite planet, it is the economy that will give way, though the planet will also suffer in the process. Porter is effectively telling us that the global economy is an airplane incapable of controlled descent, a car without brakes. While degrowth advocates do make an ethical argument, the core of their concern is pragmatic: nothing can grow forever in a limited space with limited resources, and we are seeing urgent signals (climate change, biodiversity loss, soil degradation, ecosystem failure) warning that we have already grown too much. In his article, Porter does not show how infinite economic growth is possible; he merely insists we must have more growth because . . . well, we must. If pressed, he would no doubt cling to one or another of the technofixes we have already questioned. But that’s just not a rational response to the logical and practical necessity of coming to terms with limits. [my emphasis]
What I think Heinberg fails to understand is that our ruling class depends on the system of capitalism for all its power and wealth. Thus they would essentially have to give up these goodies to save the planet. I don't think that there has ever been a ruling class which has ever voluntarily give up their control of any society, and there is no evidence that these capitalist classes will. Instead, much like addicted alcoholics, they indulge in all kinds of fantasies which Heinberg and many others have exposed as mere fantasies. But yet Heinberg and others, who are courageous enough to oppose our masters, try nevertheless to appeal rationally to our masters to give up their addiction. Is this realistic? I think not. 

The only real solution is revolution. We simply must find a way to take power away from this tiny group of addicts in order to save ourselves. If we fail to do this, or simply stand passively by, we are only saving the addicts and destroying ourselves. Sometimes in my weaker moments I can't help but think that we all all suffering from dementia like Evelyn Parker in this Onion piece of humor.

Trump Supporters Disappointed He Only Wants to Ban One Religion

Click here to access article by Andy Borowitz from The New Yorker. (satire)
In conversations with likely Trump voters across the country, reactions ranged from disenchantment to a sharp sense of betrayal as supporters tried to make sense of his decision to ban members of only one faith.

RT parody video: How Kremlin propaganda works (with English subtitles)

Click here if you wish to access this RT produced video directly from OffGuardian

I think RT produced this hilarious video as a satirical response to all the claims by Empire officials that RT's coverage is biased. Empire officials must deny the authenticity of RT’s coverage because the Empire’s media reports are so infiltrated with bias, fake news, and false-flag events. Although some of these officials may buy into their media’s coverage, I think most know that their media are lying simply because they feed the media these lies.

Friday, December 11, 2015

US Planning New Military Bases In Middle East, Asia, And Africa

Click here to access article by Dan Wright from Shadow Proof

Referring to a report appearing in the NY Times, the Empire's semi-official media source, about a new Pentagon plan for adding more military bases in these areas of the globe, the author writes: 
This plan..., of course, sets the groundwork for another series of wars in the region — wars the U.S. national security elite seem desperate to get into with the primary interest clearly being to keep the war machine rolling. Peace is bad for business and, by setting down bases and other assets, the U.S. can provoke attacks and then justify its use of force on defensive grounds.
The sad and dangerous fact is that wars feed profits and power to our capitalist masters, serve to prop up the ailing economy, and provides well-paying jobs for a few. The more immediate danger is the threat of more mini-wars, more refugees fleeing their homes for safe areas of the world, and more desperate people being recruited to serve in terrorist armies supported by the Empire to serve the latter's interests. This reckless plan by our masters accelerates the descent into a global conflagration of nuclear war with Russia and China. It appears that our masters are so terminally addicted to power and profits that they will risk everything to feed their addictions. 

The only remaining question is whether the vast majority of humans are going to passively stand by and let them do it. This begs other questions. Are we so distracted by local terrorist incidents that we fail to see the larger terror of nuclear war that will destroy all of us? Or, is it possible that we are like deer transfixed by the glaring headlights of war and terrorist propaganda that we are unable to act to save ourselves? Stay tuned, or better yet, stay informed by following credible information sources, and above all, staying active.

(You might also be interested to read the WSWS's take on this plan.) 

COP21: US is 'Major Obstacle' to Climate Change, Says Manuel Criollo

Click here to access article by Simon Holmes from Telesur

Manuel Criollo, the director of organizing at the U.S.-based Labor rights and environmental campaign group, made this opening remark in an interview with Telesur:
The story stays the same as it has for the past 20 years during this tragic climate chess game called the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change: on one side the ex-colonial and imperialist powers of Europe, Japan and the white-settler nations of the Canada, New Zealand, Australia and the United States (its ringleader) and on the other side stand the nations and peoples of the Third World (in U.N.-speak often referred as Developing Nations). It’s been a game of attrition, bullying, intimidation, divide-and-conquer and the constant changing of the rules at every turn. 

Facing Opposition Onslaught, Chavismo Must Return to Roots

Click here to access article by Lucas Koerner from Venezuelanalysis.

I read many observers who have already commented on the implications of the recent right-wing victory in Venezuela that will in January install a dominant majority in their legislature. This, I believe, is the best.
The outcome affords the Venezuelan right an unprecedented opportunity to roll back the gains of the Bolivarian Revolution by legal means, without having to resort to coups or other forms of extra-institutional violence. But will they succeed?
I also recommend you read this informative article entitled "Venezuela At An Impasse" posted on The Indypendent to learn more about the awful economic conditions facing Venezuelans.

Thursday, December 10, 2015

Towards a New Anti-Capitalist Politics [A must-read]

Click here to access article by Jerome Roos from Reflections on a Revolution (ROAR).

I really connected with this rather lengthy article which as of this time I've only read about two-thirds of it. It offers so much food for thought for activists and for all those who are sensing the downward spiral of today's disturbing neoliberal world order. This piece might also be titled "Neoliberalism...meet neo-revolutionary thought!"

Activists seem to be in a transition period in which they find the thinking of the old left no longer meets today's need. This essay is a plea for, and a contribution to, a new revolutionary mode of thinking.
In contrast to the old left, narrowly concerned with seizing the constituted power of the state, the emerging anti-capitalist politics is not necessarily opposed to the idea of taking power, but finds it much more worthwhile to think in terms of building power and cultivating the social creativity, collective imagination and democratic aspirations of society as such. It recognizes that the left cannot simply “take” power without first building it—democratically—from below.

WikiLeaks - The US strategy to create a new global legal and economic system: TPP, TTIP, TISA

Click here if you wish to access this 8:22m video directly from Wikileaks on their channel via YouTube. (My thanks go to Raging Bullshit and its author for alerting me to this excellent video.)

Exposed: Academics-for-hire agree not to disclose fossil fuel funding

Click here to access article by Lawrence Carter and Maeve McClenaghan from GreenPeace.
A Greenpeace undercover investigation has exposed how fossil fuel companies can secretly pay academics at leading American universities to write research that sows doubt about climate science and promotes the companies’ commercial interests.
This piece of excellent investigative journalism illustrates the influence that capitalism provides rich people to have their way--in this case an environmentally destructive way--in various institutions of any given nation or even internationally. 

Think of money as a kind of power coefficient in which the more money you have, the more influence you at least potentially have in any given institution or situation. That is precisely why sociopathic inclined people go to such lengths to accumulate money. It is not to consume more because, after all, how much more can one consume beyond a million dollars? I don't think I could consume even half that. So, why do we have billionaires? It is simply because these people are far more interested in the power that money provides them. 

Power can be very addicting as I learned from personal experience in Hawaii in the 1970s while dating a daughter of a man who was CEO of a multinational corporation. He and his family had a luxurious place on the beach below Diamond Head which I often visited. I actually think I enjoyed his place far more than he did because he was always traveling. Because I saw no evidence that he indulged in any material luxuries, I concluded that he was completely motivated by the power he held as CEO. 

The same goes for many members of what has become known as the "One Percent" who use their vast stores of money to influence every institution in society so that the operations of these institutions conform to their interests. That is how capitalism functions in societies in which capitalists have consolidated major ownership/control over their economies, and which has permitted them to accumulate enormous wealth. They use their money to influence all institutions to serve their interests, and above all, to protect their system from any threats. They do this in spite of any democratic facade that they might erect to deceive working people in any nation under their control.

Rahm Emanuel Condemns Police Code of Silence Which His Administration Enabled

Click here to access article by Kevin Gosztola from Shadow Proof.

(Note: If you need to be brought up to date on the storm of controversy going on now in Chicago because of the delayed release of a police video showing the shooting of Laquan McDonald about year ago, I recommend this piece entitled "The Chicago police shooting of Laquan McDonald, explained" from Vox.) 

If you are curious about Rahm Emanuel's background, all you need to do is enter "Rahm Emanuel" in one of my search boxes to bring up numerous articles about him. One of the best articles to explain how he rose to prominence in the Democratic Party is this piece entitled "Obama's chief of fixing" in which it also reveals Emanuel's deep Zionist roots.

How ISIS Oil Flows Through Turkey And Israel On Its Way To Europe

Click here to access article by Kit O'Connell from Mint Press News.
It’s widely recognized that Daesh (the Arabic acronym for the terrorist group often called IS, ISIS or ISIL in the West) depends on oil sales to fuel its armies. Until recently, it’s been less clear who is buying Daesh’s oil, and how it ends up in their hands.

However, recent reports suggest that the oil flows to Europe and Asia through a complex process that implicates allies of the United States like Turkey and Israel. The U.S. is also facing increasing criticism for its failure to target the terrorist group’s oil infrastructure in a serious way until recently.
[Only after the Russians became involved and were particularly effective in attacking ISIS's oil infrastructure.]
The evidence is overwhelming that the US Empire and its associated medieval Arab allies (Saudi Arabia, Qatar, the United Arab Emirates), Turkey, and Israel all conspired for different reasons to create this terrorist army to bring the Assad government down. (Simply enter "ISIS" into one of my search boxes to bring up articles loaded with evidence.) I think that this qualifies as another kind of false flag operation because it diverts attention away from the actual perpetrators onto a terrorist organization that has in fact been organized and supported by this coalition of nations.

Wednesday, December 9, 2015

Central banks have trillions for speculation, none for people

Click here to access article by Pete Dolack from Systemic Disorder

Dolack is a master at explaining to ordinary people the financial games that our capitalist masters play because of our ignorance or when we don't pay attention. He explains how they are currently waging this class war and what we could have done with all the free money that the Fed gave to banks and corporations.
Instead of throwing money at speculators and banks in the vain hopes they would spend the money productively instead of pocketing it or directing it toward speculation or boosting stock prices, we could have wiped out all student debt, fixed all the schools, rebuilt aging water and sewer systems, cleaned up contaminated industrial sites and repaired dams, and still have $700 billion more to spend on other needs.

The IMF forgives Ukraine’s debt to Russia

Click here to access article by Michael Hudson from A bird's eye view of the Vineyard
Since 1947 when it really started operations, the World Bank has acted as a branch of the U.S. Defense Department, from its first major chairman John J. McCloy through Robert McNamara to Robert Zoellick and neocon Paul Wolfowitz. From the outset, it has promoted U.S. exports – especially farm exports – by steering Third World countries to produce plantation crops rather than feeding their own populations. (They are to import U.S. grain.) But it has felt obliged to wrap its U.S. export promotion and support for the dollar area in an ostensibly internationalist rhetoric, as if what’s good for the United States is good for the world.

The IMF has now been drawn into the U.S. Cold War orbit. On Tuesday it made a radical decision to dismantle the condition that had integrated the global financial system for the past half century.

An example of a US government funded website

by Ron Horn for Surviving Capitalism

People often read articles on websites and blogs without realizing that they are being funded by a group or groups that have an agenda. Often they are funded by large capitalist philanthropic organizations, but in this example substantial funding is coming directly from the government. I am referring to a website called Syria Direct that has been publishing articles about Syria since 2013. So, I think one can question the credibility of an article on their website entitled "Russia strikes vital Aleppo water treatment plant: ‘The sight of water flowing from a faucet has become almost like a dream’".

The lesson this offers us is that one must question the independence of any website because they could be influenced to a greater or lessor extent by the source of their funding. The best are subscriber (or listener) sponsored sources or websites that are funded only by authentic activist organizations. Another lesson is that we ordinary people must with our dollars support truly independent journalists, otherwise we risk being lied to. And especially one must be wary of US government or ruling class organization funded sources which have demonstrated their desire to use media coverage as a propaganda weapon many times over the years. See this, this, this, this, and this.

Tuesday, December 8, 2015

What is Erdogan's Game in Syria and Iraq?

Click here to access article by Pepe Escobar from Sputnik.
The actual evidence is not even discussed by Western corporate media. It's all dismissed as "Russia claims…" Yet not only Sultan Erdogan has been systematically unmasked as a serial liar; the accumulating evidence points to Ankara both as an indirect ally and shady sponsor of the fake "Caliphate". 

Whatever the Atlanticists can come up with to "excuse" the Erdogan system, at least the devastating PR debacle for the "democratic West" is now a fact of life all across the Global South.

At the same time an elaborate shadow play is in progress.
This independent Brazilian journalist provides a closer view of what has been recently happening in Syria and Iraq and the complicated geopolitical games the various players are engaged in. His take on Russian power in the area is much more positive than what "The Saker" has reported

Other good articles from independent sources trying to understand what is happening in this area are this, this, and this.

Week Nine of the Russian Intervention in Syria: The Empire Strikes Back

Click here to access article by "The Saker" from The Unz Review.

The Russian born author and independent blogger who resides in Florida reviews recent events that have led up to the present crisis in Syria and nearby Iraq, and the implications that these events have for an extremely dangerous world conflict between nuclear powers. I share his concern.

His argument reminds me of the so-called "appeasement" policies by Western capitalist countries toward the aggressive actions of Nazi Germany in the 1930s. Such policies were aimed at the Soviet Union which had defeated capitalist forces during their revolution of 1917. Such policies encouraged the Nazis to engage in one aggression after another because they had little fear that other capitalist nations would interfere. But the times have changed a bit. Now with NATO having lured many ruling capitalist classes of the nations in Eastern Europe to their fold, it seems that any one member can act with impunity, as Turkey has recently demonstrated, with full Empire approval. So, if somehow the events in Syria and Iraq don't lead to a catastrophic war, another threat to world peace is still likely. Let me review a little history to see some earlier parallels with the present.

After the Soviet forces defeated the backbone of the Nazi armies at Stalingrad in the winter of 1942/1943, the Western allies began to seriously attack Nazi armies with the result that the Allies together with Russia won the war. However the capitalist countries never forgave the Soviets for their "treachery" of rejecting capitalism. This immediately led to the Cold War and many proxy wars up until the collapse of the antiquated version of socialism in the Soviet Union in 1990. However, since then Russia has recovered from the widespread corruption and theft of its industries by oligarchs, and has pursued an independent course among nations. This was still intolerable to Empire directors. 

Simultaneous with this history, the other Allies, the capitalist countries, morphed into the US Empire which pursued the same course of global domination as did their Nazi predecessors, only using much more sophisticated strategies of Gladio programs and many other forms of subversive actions. It has been clear for quite some time that there can be no independent countries in the scheme of these new empire builders. Hence Russia, China, and all other countries--as well as workers in their own countries--must bow down to the authority of the capitalist elites in this New World Order of the 21st century. Or else!

Syria: Ultimate Pipelineistan War

Click here to access article by Pepe Escobar from Strategic Culture Foundation.
Syria is an energy war. With the heart of the matter featuring a vicious geopolitical competition between two proposed gas pipelines, it is the ultimate Pipelinestan  war, the term I coined long ago for the 21st century imperial energy battlefields.

It all started in 2009....
He goes on to explain how these fossil fuel pipelines are critically important strategic factors that influence policies conjured up by the directors of the US Empire to promote their goals of world domination.

Monday, December 7, 2015

The unavowable project for a pseudo-Kurdistan

Click here to access article by Thierry Meyssan from VoltaireNet.

In 2011, Alain Juppé (France) and Ahmet Davutoğlu (Turkey)

 This French geopolitical analyst scores with this exposé of the latest ploys by members of the US Empire involving the use of lies, secret agreements, and co-optation to carve out a Kurdish state in Syria and Iraq to appeal to Turkish and Kurdish authorities while settling the Daesh terrorists mostly in Iraq's Anbar province presumably to continue their efforts to destabilize Syria.  

The latest NATO effort appears to be the Empire's response to Syria's request to Russia and Iran, and the latter's response, to help protect their country from the terrorist army of Daesh (ISIS) that is supported by the Empire and its medieval Arab allies.
- France and the United Kingdom have managed to make their public opinion believe that Resolution 2249 authorises them to intervene in Syria against Daesh. On this basis, they have obtained the authorisation of their parliaments to begin bombing, but without the authorisation of Syria.

- On the ground, they believe they can count on the Turkmen militias (supported by the Turkish army) and the Kurdish YPG (supported by Israël and the Regional Kurdish Government of Iraq).

- The aim of these intervention is not to eradicate Daesh because of its programme of ethnic cleansing, but to displace them to Al-Anbar, and to continue the ethnic cleansing, this time in Northern Syria, to create a pseudo-Kurdistan.
You might also be interested in this report from entitled "Damascus Says US-Led Coalition Is Bombing Syrian Troops, Not ISIS" from Russia Insider.

Escalation in Syria leads to a global war

Click here if you wish to directly access the 4:29 video and transcript from South Front. (Note: my browser, and presumably others, cannot access the video directly from the website. Hence I am reproducing the video via YouTube.)

The Causes and Consequences of Venezuelan Election Results

Click here to access article by Tamara Pearson from Telesur.

Bad news for all progressive people in South America and the world who have been fans of the "Bolivarian Revolution". This setback on top of the right-wing victory in Argentina in October, which I totally missed, is rather foreboding. Of course the Kirchner governments never pretended to be revolutionary, their policies only represented social-democratic efforts to salvage capitalism after the economic disaster of 1998-2002

I, too, was initially attracted to the "Bolivarian Revolution" and traveled to that country in late 2005 to find out more about it (see this, this, and this). I was rather disappointed or, at least, not terribly impressed as I was with the Nicaraguan Revolution of the Sandinistas during a similar trip in 1983. Perhaps that was why the US made such aggressive efforts to destabilize it by illegally hiring and training the mercenary army of the Contras who carried out terrorist operations against Nicaraguan clinics, schools, and other social projects.

The author tries to put a positive spin on the results in these two elections:
The consequences are serious, but do not necessarily mark the end. Despite its financial resources and support from international powers and elites, the opposition has not been strategic or intelligent and won't be strategic with this new power. .... Nevertheless, two such losses will no doubt cause some regional demotivation among progressives and have a significant impact on Latin American integration bodies.

Sunday, December 6, 2015

2012 DIA ‘Islamic State’ Report Enters National Discourse after New York Times Coverage

Click here to access article by Brad Hoff from Levant Report
While the document was referenced and analyzed in literally hundreds of independent/alternative and foreign media reports, major U.S. news maintained its silence, even after Lt. Gen. Michael Flynn (Ret.), head of the DIA at the time the report was prepared, confirmed its accuracy and importance in an Al Jazeera interview with Mehdi Hasan.

Even with Flynn’s public and unambiguous confirmation of the document, the American public remained largely in the dark as to the document’s existence.

While the rest of the world had easy access to the interview which featured lengthy discussion of the document with a man who was in 2012 and prior one of the top three highest ranking intelligence officials in Washington, it did not air on Al Jazeera America, and the program itself remains geo-blocked for Americans wishing to access it through Al Jazeera’s official YouTube channel.
It appears that Hoff was the first to break the news of this very important report (May 19, 2015) which was apparently inadvertently released under a Freedom of Information request by a conservative organization called Judicial Watch. I found it referred to in a Moon of Alabama article a few days later and I have posted other articles referring to it since then (see this and this). Now on November 18th apparently because it has been widely circulating in alternative media, the editors of the New York Times, the Empire's "newspaper of record", have been forced to refer to it in an article entitled "In Rise of ISIS, No Single Missed Key but Many Strands of Blame".

Paris climate talks accomplish nothing to curb global warming

Click here to access article by Daniel de Vries from World Socialist Web Site.
The industrial capacity exists to transition to entirely renewable sources of energy within a matter of a few decades or less, as a recent study by Stanford researcher Mark Jacobson concluded for the United States. However, the level of planning and coordination on an international basis needed to implement such a transition comes into immediate conflict with the division of the world into rival nation-states and private ownership of the world’s productive resources.

The pledges put forward correspond to the needs of the banks and major transnational corporations.
The 800 pound gorilla in the rooms of the Paris conference is the private ownership and control of the world's economies by tiny classes of capitalists. As long as nations are controlled by these people, so long will we be observing conferences where capitalist leaders pontificate about the threats of climate destabilization and make empty promises of doing better to mitigate its effects. 

At the same time we are seeing nations lining up mostly in two blocs, both armed with nuclear weapons, with one bloc (US Empire) thoroughly dominated by capitalists whereas the other bloc (led by China and Russia) using capitalists to drive production at a frenetic pace in order to protect themselves from the virulent imperialism of the first bloc. Whether the latter bloc can maintain control of their own capitalists is a matter of pure speculation. In any case, humanity is caught between the Charybdis of climate destabilization and the Scylla of nuclear war. Only an informed and aroused people all over the world can prevent the extinction of humans.

Paris Climate Talks: What's at Stake for the World's Coasts

Click here to access article by Zahra Hirji and Paul Horn from Inside Climate News.
Infographic outlines how sea level rise triggered by climate change will permanently alter coastlines and how much the resulting damage will cost.
Rising sea levels are mostly a future threat, but an article entitled "Blame Western companies for Southeast Asia’s toxic haze" describes a current threat to the health of people in some parts of the world where industries are concentrated to produce goods for Western consumers. 

Things I have learnt since being at the Paris climate talks

Click here to access article by Kevin Smith from Global Justice Now.
The COP [21] is such a big and complicated beast that it’s almost impossible to make a definitive statement of what’s going on - never has an elephant been groped by so many different blind-folded people. So here’s a smattering of what I’ve picked up since I’ve been here. For something that’s more thorough and comprehensive, I’d recommend the regular briefings from Third World Network, and for a more accessible take, the daily Storify round ups from Climate Justice Info.