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 26, 2015

Empire of Chaos preparing for more fireworks in 2016

Click here to access article by Pepe Escobar from RT.

This widely respected Brazilian journalist peers into his geopolitical crystal ball to see what we can expect in 2016 and beyond. It ain't pretty or even reassuring. 
It’s all here: unilateral Exceptionalistan in action against anyone who dares to defy imperial diktats.

From Ukraine to Syria, and all across MENA (Middle East and North Africa), the proxy war between Washington and Moscow, with higher and higher stakes, won’t abate. Imperial despair over the irreversible Chinese ascent also won’t abate. As the New Great Game picks up speed, and Russia supplies Eurasian powers Iran, China and India with missile defense systems beyond anything the West has, get used to the new normal; Cold War 2.0 between Washington and Beijing-Moscow.
Andre Damon in article posted on World Socialist Web Site agrees with Escobar. However in contrast to Escobar who like many others hopes to secure peace in a multipolar capitalist world, Damon knows that the only way for peace to be established is for working people to end the rule of capitalist hegemons all over the world.
Anyone who has observed the world in 2015 must expect that 2016 will be a year of unprecedented violence and social misery. But the same processes driving the world to the brink of world war are those that must give rise to social struggle by the working class.

Unlike the professional liars and opinion-makers of the financial elite and its political representatives, the working masses of humanity take the ideals of universal peace and brotherhood seriously. They genuinely hope and strive for a better world, and will fight for it. In the coming period, millions will conclude that an independent political struggle by the working class, armed with a socialist perspective of overthrowing capitalism and reorganizing society on an internationalist basis, is the only means to achieve “peace on earth.”

Friday, December 25, 2015

The Grimmer Story Behind ‘Trumbo’

Click here to access article by James DiEugenio from ConsortiumNews. (Some revisions made up till 5 PM Seattle time.)

This is a review by the author of the recently released film, Trumbo, directed by Jay Roach. It is a decidedly liberal view of the persecution of leftists in Hollywood which was one aspect of a post-war right-wing coup that to a great extent successfully resulted in the purging of leftists from the entire society. This very little understood dark period in American history, like all of the other historical events that cast doubts about our capitalist ruling class, has been carefully excised from most American history books. DiEugenio does a fair job within the limits of a film review of including the wider historical context (from a liberal perspective) in which the persecution of Trumbo occurred.

An even deeper historical context should also include the 1930s, especially after the collapse of many economies in the Great Depression, when many Western capitalists were threatened with widespread opposition by people who were beginning to understand class conflict. Many of these capitalists wanted to dispense with their facades of "democratic" institutions in order to establish authoritarian governments, or naked capitalist class rule known as fascism. They were also terrified by the success of the Russian Revolution of 1917, and wanted the Soviet Union destroyed by the rising fascist forces in Europe. 

In the US these capitalists hid under the more respectable label of "isolationists". To be sure, there were genuine isolationists, or principled anti-war people, but the latter were a minority. What was peculiar about most of these "isolationists" was that they included many capitalists who are normally notorious for supporting wars simply because they always reap huge profits from them. Also many capitalists, who didn't identify themselves as "isolationists", were very ambivalent against curbing the fascist forces that were overrunning Europe, especially after they turned eastward toward Russia. In the end the Soviet armies broke the back of the German army and then the Allies entered the war very seriously to insure that the newly merged Anglo-American alliance would rule in the post-war world. Thus one might argue that the Third Reich exists--except that it flies an American instead of a Nazi flag.

Instead of reporting this history, our masters as usual have written about the glories of a "good war", a simplified story of good guys (us) versus bad guys that they feed constantly to ordinary people. 

After WWII these former fascist-friendly American capitalists came out of their "isolationist" closet; and they were clearly prepared to reverse the more friendly (to labor) social-democratic governance of the Roosevelt administration, to purge America of all these "rabid" leftists, to take back the many gains of labor unions that had occurred under FDR, and to gain right-wing control over every institution in America, especially institutions of indoctrination: media, education, and entertainment. 

The more moderate wing of the capitalist ruling class merely stood by and watched as the fascist types hauled cultural artists like Trumbo before their inquisition, mostly the House Un-American Activities Committee, rolled back labor rights, made teachers swear loyalty oaths, and began their wars, both overt and subversive: against progressive movements and labor unions in Europe with the clandestine Gladio project, and with war against the revolutionary movement in Korea (read The Origins of the Korean War by Bruce Cumings). It was only after the lunatic Sen. Joseph McCarthy began to question the loyalty of members of the Armed Services that the moderate wing stepped in and put a halt to this inquisition. 

However, once they accomplished the purge of domestic leftists, they went on from there to engage in all kinds of subversive and violent methods to overturn governments of foreign countries and their progressive movements which did not serve Empire interests in one country after another all over the world.  

The Dirty War on Syria: Washington Supports the Islamic State (ISIS)--The Evidence

Click here to access article by Prof. Tim Anderson for Global Research. (Some revision at 9:30 PM Seattle time.)

Anderson uses an academic style with linked references after his essay to document his evidence. After perusing his references, I think that he presents a solid essay in support of the headline and the two myths used to justify US foreign policy:
Washington maintains two closely linked myths as regards terrorism in the Middle East. Then there is a ‘fall-back’ story. The first ‘existential myth’ is that, from 2014, the US became engaged in a war against extremist terrorists, in both Iraq and Syria. This followed several years of trying to topple the Syrian Government by backing illegal armed groups, which it calls ‘moderate’. Through this myth the US claims to be playing a protective role for the benefit of the peoples of the region. The second myth is that there is a significant difference between the ‘moderate rebels’ the US arms, finances and trains, and the extremist terrorists (DAESH or ISIS) it claims to be fighting.

These claims represented a shift in the rationale for the war on Syria, from one of ‘humanitarian intervention’ to a revival of the Bush era ‘war on terror’.
The Empire is clearly attempting to destroy the Assad government in Syria and replace it with one more supportive of Empire interests, and is using these myths to justify their actions for the gullible American public.

UK Blames Saudi Arabia After Hackers Trace ISIS Accounts To UK Gov’t

Click here to access article from Shadowproof
IP addresses are frequently resold as more and more Internet users, as well an ever-increasing number of Internet-enabled devices, try to get online. However, the link to Saudi Arabia is one more piece of evidence that the powerful Middle Eastern nation may be funding or otherwise supporting terrorism. On Dec. 7, German officials warned that Saudi Arabia must stop supporting Wahhabism, an extremist form of Islam that many believe is the inspiration for terrorist groups ranging from Daesh to al-Qaida.

Many other analysts have echoed these sentiments....

The Christmas Day that Peace Broke Out

Click here to access article by Michael Winship from Moyers & Company.

This historical incident, which occasionally squeaks through on liberal websites, is often viewed as an embarrassment by our capitalist masters because it is a rare event in which soldiers refused to kill each other for their masters' benefit.

Thursday, December 24, 2015

Hollow Promises and Ugly Unspoken Realities

Click here to access article by "xraymike79" from his website Collapse of Industrial Civilization.

This website administrator and blogger, who specializes in graphics, provides us with a wealth of graphics, links, and insights about capitalism and its death-march toward the destruction of our habitat that will result in human extinction. This end of humans and many other species is inevitable as long as we sit back and resign ourselves to the capitalists' obsession with never-ending growth along with many other disasters such as wars and widespread poverty for the many amidst unimaginable wealth for a few.
The institution of capitalism, which has been copied and exported all over the world since WW II, has established widespread acceptance for the condition of mass production, mass consumption, and waste at an ever accelerating rate, pushing the world deeper and deeper into ecological crisis.
A most mind-bending graphic which especially impressed me:

Then he provides us with an entertaining and insightful link to a 3:59m comedy routine by Tom Simmons entitled "Worried About The Environment". 

Paris agreement satire

by David Fitzsimmons whose cartoons are run in the Arizona Daily Star.

Wednesday, December 23, 2015

Western Propaganda an Encouraging Sign for Russia in Syria

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

Very recently I've noticed a number of such reports in Western media and in the media of countries in the Middle East allied with the US Empire. I think that Cartalucci correctly identifies this phenomenon as a propaganda campaign. Which begs some questions in my mind: how is such a campaign decided, and by whom? On the other hand, it could have been merely started by various media imitating others, especially major Western media. But I wonder. I think that the process likely included both factors: a decision made by Empire directors, relayed to their major media, and then imitated by many foreign media companies which generally serve the Empire.

However, I am puzzled by one statement that Cartalucci makes: "Attempts to broker a 'ceasefire' and thus save the remnants of NATO's proxy forces has also failed." This essay must have been written before the recent UN Resolution 2254 which endorses the Vienna peace process and specifically calls for a "nationwide ceasefire to begin as soon as the parties concerned had taken initial steps towards a political transition." Many of its other provisions are vague, but the ceasefire which doesn't include terrorist armies is very problematic. (see also this and this.) 

This is a major change and the outcome has aroused all kinds of speculation--see particularly F. William Engdahl's concerns as I point out in my nest post.

Erdoğan, Salman and the Coming ‘Sunni’ War for Oil

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

After speculating on a conspiracy led by King Salman of Saudi Arabia and President Erdoğan of Turkey to control oil resources in the Middle East, he launches into his concerns about the recent UN Resolution 2254 (see also this and this) which calls for a Syrian ceasefire by all belligerents except the terrorist armies backed by Saudi Arabia and Turkey. You might want to skip down to the section entitled "Deceptive US Peace Offer in UN". He warns:
The reality is that the agreed UN ceasefire and simultaneous political transition to Washington’s “moderate Syrian opposition” will force Russia, the Assad Syrian government, Hezbollah and Iran military actions to halt, while Saudi-Turkish-Qatari DAESH and Al Qaeda Al Nusra Front and allied terror bands will have free reign to grab the oil riches of Syria and then of northern Iraq.

At that point, the trap will have been set and Washington will no doubt spring it, with Russia, Iran and Assad at that point able to do little to prevent it.

Council of monkeys – 12 exhibits comparing the U.S. to other countries

Click here to access article by David Ruccio from Real-World Economics Review Blog.
Business people and investors in the United States have a reputation, even after the spectacular crash of 2008, to be worldly, no-nonsense, bring-it-on types. They’re supposed to know what is going on in the world and to react to the news with dispatch, making the hard decisions that lead to efficient outcomes.

However, they’re actually like a council of monkeys, sitting on a pile of cash: hear no bad news, see no bad news, speak no bad news.
After these opening remarks, Ruccio proceed to tell them the bad news portrayed in dramatic fashion by the series of graphs. The graphs also illustrate why the US can engage in so many wars (either directly or indirectly), spend so much on weapons, and maintain around a 1000 military installations overseas. To me they also are another indication of why Americans put up with second-class citizenship among developed nations: instead of hard data like this, their reality is created for them by corporate media. All they have to do is flip on the "on" switch to their boob-tubes.

However, I must take issue with Ruccio about his "council of monkeys" metaphor. To be sure many capitalist advisers are chronically optimistic for various reasons, but the top ones who are our ruling directors are not stupid. They want their wave-slaves to believe in the system and the future despite all the evidence (like the evidence presented in the graphs which wage-slaves never see) to the contrary.

They make millions per employee and cry they don’t make enough

Click here to access article by Pete Dolack from Systemic Disorder

Dolack provides us with business research data which bring out in stark relief the obsessive pursuit of wealth by a class of people who justify their claims on profits at the expense of workers due to their "ownership" of enterprises. Such a system known as capitalism inevitably produces the extreme inequality and associated effects like wars, famine, homelessness, poor health care existing alongside ostentatious displays of wealth that one observes today in most places of the world. Over the centuries the system has also created a self-serving ruling classes which now controls every important institution in most societies.

The justification of "ownership" which the capitalist class insert into the brains of working people from the cradle to the grave insures that workers never know the real source of wealth--their labor. In schools workers are never exposed to real history, and you can be sure that workers are taught only the history which their masters see fit to teach them. Only a few manage to escape this brainwashing to find other sources of information in libraries and alternative media which expose their lies. Fortunately, we have people like Dolack on his alternative website to dig up information like this so that we can begin to understand how the system works.

Tuesday, December 22, 2015

Propaganda Can’t Melt Steel Beams

Click here to access article by Kevin Ryan from Dig Within.

This former Site Manager, for the environmental testing division of Underwriters Laboratories, has an extensive history of investigations regarding 9/11. In this article he cites the continuing efforts of corporate media to provide propaganda to account for the melting of the steel beams of the World Trade Center buildings.
Sources like The Posts, The New York Times and some “alternative media” continue to work hard to support the official myth of 9/11. That effort is not easy because they must do so while providing as little actual information about 9/11 as possible. The dumbing down of the average citizen is a full time job for such propagandists. Luckily for them, American students receive almost no historical context that encourages them to think critically or consider ideas that conflict with blind allegiance to their government. When it comes to the WTC, it also helps that almost 80% of Americans are scientifically illiterate.

As media companies attempt to confuse the public about 9/11, they must avoid relating details that might actually get citizens interested in the subject.

Turkish Party Member Claims Syria Chemical Weapons Attack Committed By Jihadists With Help From Turkey

Click here to access article by Brandon Turbeville from Activist Post
In August, 2013, a horrendous chemical attack took place in Ghouta, a Damascus suburb in which a number of civilians were killed. Immediately, images of the dead and dying were broadcast across Western television screens and the blame was placed on the shoulders of Bashar al-Assad’s secular government by Western governments such as the United States, the NATO alliance, the GCC, and Israel. This attack was very nearly the trigger for a direct NATO invasion of Syria on the basis of “humanitarian intervention” until the Russians stepped in and negotiated a plan with Assad to destroy Syria’s stockpile of chemical weapons.
"Assad must go!" This lie has been repeated so many times by Western leaders, their lackeys in the Middle East, and especially Western corporate media that in the minds of ordinary people all over the world it has attained the status of a fact. The lie has been used to justify all kinds of war crimes that the West has engaged in against Syria. 

This lie has been exposed many times by knowledgeable people and other independent sources, and now a courageous member of Turkey's parliament, Eren Erdem, has added more details about Turkish and Western nations' involvement that exposes the lie. Like numerous whistleblowers in the US who have exposed their nation's crimes and charged under the Espionage Act of 1917, Erdem is now under investigation for treason, threatened with loss of parliamentary immunity, and receiving numerous death threats.  

Monday, December 21, 2015

The Empire Files: 'This Ship is Sinking' Says Former Bush Official

Click here if you wish to access this interview conducted by Abby Martin with retired Col. Lawrence Wilkerson from Telesur
Abby Martin interviews retired U.S. Army Colonel Lawrence Wilkerson, former national security advisor to the Reagan administration, who spent years as an assistant to Secretary of State Colin Powell during both Bush administrations. Today, he is honest about the unfixable corruption inside the establishment and the corporate interests driving foreign policy. Hear a rare insider's view of what interests are behind U.S. wars, the manipulation of intelligence, the intertwining of the military and corporate world, and why the U.S. Empire is doomed.
After Martin asks him "what can we do preventing this government, the military industrial complex, from crushing us?" He concludes the interview with this astonishing statement: 
It would take a substantial minority, or even a majority of the people to stand up and say no more.  Does that mean revolution?  Possibly.
It's unfortunate that so many people who have served the Empire only speak critically about its policies after they retire. But then, one must keep in mind that Empire directors are a ruthless lot and they have no compunctions about destroying, either literally or figuratively speaking, the lives of people who rat on them.

This is not a refugee crisis

Click here to access article by Paul Walsh from Reflections on a Revolution (ROAR).

I have been spending considerable time this morning reading many fascinating articles recently published in this new magazine published by ROAR. (We simply must support them.) The focus of this website and magazine is European politics from a left-wing perspective. And European politics are becoming inextricably connected with the Middle East hotbed of politics. This article really puts in graphic clarity the experience of Europeans with the current flood of refugees fleeing for their lives from ongoing wars in the Middle East to a safe haven in Europe.
The refugee issue is used by far-right, populist groups to build power and extend beyond their small base of supporters, especially in the few countries willing to open their doors, like Sweden and Germany. The issue is also used by domestic elites for political ends.

But do political leaders understand what is happening? We are moving towards a divided Europe: those who want to help, and those who want to hate—with the majority unsure and anxious. Grassroots citizens’ initiatives are working across these divides, growing from the soil of government failure. But grassroots initiatives have limited resources, and can only do so much.

This isn’t a refugee crisis at all; it’s a crisis of racism, of hatred, of information.

Most smuggled ISIS oil goes to Turkey, sold at low prices – Norwegian report

Click here to access article from RT.
A newly-leaked report on illegal oil sales by Islamic State (IS, previously ISIS/ISIL), which was ordered to be compiled by Norway, has revealed that most of the IS-smuggled oil has been destined for Turkey, where it is sold off at bargain low prices.

Norwegian daily Klassekampen leaked details of the report, which was put together by Rystad Energy, an independent oil and gas consulting firm, at the request of the Norwegian Foreign Ministry. 

Pro-Capitalist Climate Problem Needs Anti-Capitalist Solution

Click here to access article by Frank Scott from Legalienate. 
The future of humanity calls for an end to the system of private profit and public loss that has brought wonderful lives to many – as did feudalism and slavery – but misery and deprivation to even more, with the number of humans carrying the loss rising dangerously as profits grow for an ever smaller population.

Sunday, December 20, 2015

Military to Military: Seymour M. Hersh on US intelligence sharing in the Syrian war

Click here to access article by Seymour Hersh from London Review of Books.

You can be certain that many geopolitical analysts will be commenting on, and quoting from, this recent current article in the London Review of Books. Apparently The New Yorker, which formerly carried his articles, found his insider information too hot to handle.

Hersh seems to have insider contacts everywhere that give him confidential information, that is, except within the Obama administration. In the article he quotes a number of sources, particularly within the Joint Chief of Staff, who know that the administration's position against Assad runs counter to all intelligence reports. So, what is missing from Hersh's report is any information on the unknown 800 pound gorilla in the room: any insider reports on why the Empire's Chief Executive's office is pursuing so vigorously and consistently their anti-Assad crusade in spite of its own intelligence reports. (This is not the first time this has happened.)
Obama now has a more compliant Pentagon. There will be no more indirect challenges from the military leadership to his policy of disdain for Assad and support for Erdoğan. Dempsey and his associates remain mystified by Obama’s continued public defence of Erdoğan, given the American intelligence community’s strong case against him – and the evidence that Obama, in private, accepts that case.
However it is not hard to figure out. I have offered an explanation many times in my commentaries. The Empire's capitalist masters, who are addicted to wealth and power, simply must pursue control of the world's resources and markets regardless of the many devastating effects on societies, causing climate destabilization, and posing the threat of a nuclear war.

How a Nation Self-destructs

Click here to access article by Harvey Lothian from Dissident Voice.

I believe that this brief article contains a profound insight of which few people are aware: how the withering away of the social fabric can destroy a nation. And this is currently, in my opinion, a deliberate policy by our capitalist masters who are now moving step by fascist step to make the world safe for corporate rule.

I am particularly struck by an awareness of how most people get their interpretations of major issues through CIA-infiltrated media corporations, and repeat their views endlessly and unquestioningly to each other as if they were based on fact. The way corporate media reports on crimes and terrorist incidents accelerates a fear of not only Muslims but all other people in society that ordinary Americans regard as strangers. 

As a result Americans are encouraged to support more oppressive police measures and/or to buy guns to protect themselves from these threats. If Lothian's observations are correct and my observation is correct about a massively misinformed American public, then American society may be well on its way to self-destructing. In spite of this conclusion, I remain optimistic that there will be sufficient number of people who will opt for sanity, follow reliable alternative media, and join together to rid society of capitalist rule.

Climate Denial's Ugly Side: Hate Mail to Scientists

Click here to access article by Katherine Bagley and Naveena Sadasivam from Inside Climate News. 
While fervent public mistrust of established science is not unique to climate change ..., the level of cruelty of climate harassment is alarming, and is also largely a U.S. phenomenon.

A recent poll by the Pew Research Center shows that only 45 percent of Americans—compared to 54 percent of people worldwide (and nearly 100 percent of working U.S. climate scientists)—believe climate change is a serious problem. Among Republicans, that percentage falls to 20 percent.

A strenthening economy--according to the Fed

Click here if you wish to access this cartoon by Patrick Chappatte directly from the NY Times