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, January 30, 2016

What’s driving shocks to the economy

Click here to access article by Sara Flounders from Workers World. (Some revisions made at 4:30 PM Seattle time.)

The author makes a lot of general observations about inequality, over-production, austerity, and the chaotic economic booms/busts that are typical characteristics of a capitalist controlled economy. She, like many others, sees signs that we are headed for another economic bust which always hurts working people the most.
A fifth of all stock market wealth in the world has been wiped out. This may not immediately affect most workers. But the capitalists’ way of dealing with the loss of their speculative wealth is to immediately turn on workers who have less than $1,000 or $100 to their name.
It is my observation that in Western societies the extreme accumulation of wealth is nowadays concentrated in the financial sector. This I believe is due to the inevitable upward drift of wealth under capitalism from the workers to owners of industry to financiers who over time inevitably become the "owners" of most capital. This is where we are today. Nearly everyone including many of the smaller corporations and entire nation states are in debt to people in the financial sector of the world economy.

Basic to capitalism is private ownership of social production which she touches on in this essay. However all the other characteristics she mentions, I believe, are effects of capitalism rather than basic causes. The other basic characteristic is the drive for profits by "owners". 

It matters very little what is produced (or services provided)--whether it results in eventual negative effects such as climate destabilization, public health consequences such as we are seeing in some Michigan cities, and especially devastating wars--as long as what is produced can be profitable to owners, such products will be manufactured. Hence housing, health care, and even education, which are highly valued by workers, have been converted into commodities which capitalists can bet on at their Wall Street casino. These essential needs to maintain a minimum decent living are now increasingly unaffordable for many Americans. Decisions about what is produced or what services that are to be provided are overwhelmingly decided by the ruling capitalist class on the basis of profitability. Real social needs will never be an important factor in those decisions. 

And it doesn't take much wealth accumulation to also increase one's dominance over others. Power over others has become a paramount derivative feature of capitalism which, in turn, creates the class structure and a ruling class, and causes ruling classes to engage in policies which conflict with the interests of other social classes (class war) and the security interests of other nations (imperialism). With the extreme accumulation of wealth now in the hands of a very few people, the latter control entire governments, media, education, and all other sectors of societies.

The Empire's cannon fodder

Click here if you wish to access this from cartoonist Andy Singer's website. 

Friday, January 29, 2016

The Commons is the Future: Rediscovering a Paradigm Beyond States and Markets

Click here to access article by Yavor Tarinski from Grassroots Economic Organizing

In the current anti-capitalist, left-wing scene the argument advanced in this article seems so much like a straw-man argument. Only the most naïve left-wingers advocate state-based socialism nowadays. The experience of the 20th century has led most contemporary activists to lay this anti-capitalist paradigm firmly in history's trash-bin. The great challenge for contemporary humans is how to organize effectively against capitalist rule in order to overthrow it before a capitalist driven catastrophe occurs in the form of a nuclear war and/or climate destabilization. 

This presupposes an activist consciousness that refuses any longer to respect capitalist ideology, to disaffiliate themselves from capitalist values, and to affirm the values of the commons and the paradigm of a bottom-up authority structure. Such an activist consciousness does not yet exist in sufficient numbers to overthrow the rule of capitalism due to the pervasive and  successful thought control of capitalist ideological institutions of media, education, and entertainment. The average person is so overwhelmed by the demands of survival and so isolated in ideological ghettos under very sophisticated capitalist control that they are unable to handle the assault on their reason and common sense in order to form such a revolutionary consciousness. In my opinion, only a vibrant alternative media can effectively begin to counter this assault, and the results so far are not promising.

Democrat and Republican Parties as Collaborationists Against the Working Class

Click here if you wish to access this cartoon by Joseph Harmon and Izzi Creo directly from Workers Struggle

The False-Dichotomy of the Democrat and Republican Parties for the Working Class

Thursday, January 28, 2016

Winston Churchill: Britain’s Greatest Briton Left a Legacy of Global Conflict and Crimes Against Humanity

Click here to access article by Garikai Chengu from CounterPunch.

The author smashes another big lie that apparently has been so successfully spread among the British public. There are so many of these lies in all countries where capitalists rule unrestrained by any significant opposition. But we working people simply must attack such lies wherever and whenever they surface in the ideological centers of our societies. We must first free our minds of this garbage if we ever hope to rid ourselves of the catastrophic rule of this tiny class of capitalists. 

The Seeds Of Spin: Decoding Pro-GMO Lies And Falsehoods

Click here to access article by Colin Todhunter from East by Northwest

Todhunter provides us with an excellent guide to decode all the lies that proliferate in mainstream media to get us to accept GMO contaminated food and enrich Monsanto Corporation.

If Flint’s water problem happened to rich people

Click here if you wish to access this cartoon by Jen Sorensen, cartoonist, directly from her website.

Wednesday, January 27, 2016

An Oligarchy Has Broken Our Democracy. It Must Be Dislodged

Click here to access article by Mike Lofgren from The Guardian.

This post is a glaring exception to my policy of only posting the most credible articles from the web. This post could be labeled "incredible" because it serves several real deep state purposes of the ruling capitalist class rather than the people: a middle class perspective on their deteriorating class position, trivializing the concept of "deep state" while misidentifying the ruling class, and endorsing Bernie Sanders as a presidential candidate. But one should always expect this type of political slant from the Empire's leading liberal publication. Let me offer my thoughts on each of these political distortions.

The middle class particularly in the US has always had a privileged position, but particularly since their dramatic expansion after WWII. You see, the middle class (professionals, managers, and highly skilled scientists and technicians) up until now have been indispensable to the owners (capitalists) of our post-WWII accelerated economy. In the past mainstream media have celebrated this phenomenon in excess by often encouraging everyone to believe that we were all of the middle class (in polls most people self-identified with the middle class). 

However, especially since the onset of the Great Recession in 2008, the decline of this class has been very noticeable. Innovations in technology (created by workers), the movement of many middle class positions to offshore facilities to take advantage of lower income middle class workers, and the recruitment of many foreign middle class workers to the US have all combined to weaken existing middle class status, opportunities, and lifestyles. Middle class workers find it much more difficult to finance higher education for their children and graduates of higher education are finding job opportunities much scarcer that previous generations. 

As a result of the déclassé phenomenon many of these thoroughly indoctrinated middle class people are suddenly waking up to their tenuous position in society. They are even adopting the radical language of the left to denounce the "oligarchy" and the "deep state" for their decline, and screaming about threats to democracy. The "oligarchs" or capitalists have always existed since the founding of our nation by people like land speculator George Washington, the banker and capitalist schemer Alexander Hamilton, and the merchant and financier Robert Morris. This capitalist class have always ruled our country with "democratic" features gradually added when they developed other means to contain dissent. 

So it is no surprise that the author concludes this essay by endorsing the candidacy of Bernie Sanders the socialist who really isn't a socialist. Sanders has demonstrated that he loves Israel and wars in the Middle East. The closet Zionist is merely serving the Democratic party by offering seductive tidbits like universal health care and radical-sounding critiques to lure disaffected voters back to the Democratic party to vote Hillary Clinton who has already been selected by our masters to be our next president. See this, this, this, and this

It's like the hopey-changey politics of Obama all over again. We would all be invited by our deep state masters to show the world how "democratic" and egalitarian the US is by voting a woman into the highest office of our nation.

The De-Klein of a Revolutionary Writer

Click here to access article from Wrong Kind of Green, a collective.

Naomi Klein, a well-educated (and indoctrinated) woman with embarrassing red diaper and anti-war activists roots, is revealed in this article as playing to the left while actually serving the interests of capitalists. Although she has been facilitated in this grand deception by corporate media, it still amazes me that she has been so successful in pulling this off.
In 2007 Naomi Klein visited Chiapas, sharing a platform with Zapatista spokesperson Subcomandante Marcos and the EZLN (Zapatista Army of National Liberation) at a conference in CIDECI (Das Centro indígena de Capacitación Integral) on the outskirts of San Cristobal, Mexico.

However in the actual physical manifestation of a person doing a proverbial 180 degree turn regarding ideological allegiances, it was only a scant eight years later, on November 24, 2015 where an exuberant Klein is photographed with Angel Gurría, Secretary-General of the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD).
The solid information supplied in the article justifies this scathing conclusion:
Today “Klein is the Oprah Winfrey of the Toy Che Brigades–another vapid luminary on the cover of Vogue.” Immersed and drowning in a society of spectacle, the increasing vogue for capitalist-friendly climate discourse flourishes like a cancer. Celebrity fetish coupled with sophisticated (yet evasive) holistic linguistics is further mobilized to protect, expand and strengthen capitalism and growth under the guise of a “new economy”. Blinded by privilege, while enraptured with one’s own ego, fame and fortune entice today’s environmental “leaders” who are appointed/chosen and bankrolled by the world’s most powerful oligarchs and are nothing more than recherché brands serving as valuable commodities insulating current power structures. 

Iran: Lifting Sanctions and Coming Betrayal

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

Using information from a major Empire source, other sources, and similar precedents, this geopolitical analyst argues that the recent deal made with Iran was only a ploy to destroy the country:
In the game of geopolitics, Iran’s current predicament could not be any more obvious, nor any more dangerous. This is not the beginning of a new and hopeful chapter between Iranian and Western relations. It is but a shift in tactics and public perception that will bring with it a new array of challenges for Tehran and its allies to navigate.

Western backed terrorists surging in Syria and Iraq, form the very same dagger once aimed at Libya’s back. This “superb offer” by the US seeks to take down Iran’s guard so this dagger can be sunk fully into the Iranian state.

The Davos Blind Eye: How the Rich Eat the Poor and the World

Click here to access article by John McMurtry from The Bullet

This retired Canadian professor explains why the rich capitalist class must keep repeating lies about delivering the poor from poverty.
Worse than delusional, the lived reality of impoverishment of billions of people is reversed, the victims are continually proclaimed to be doing better under the system that increasingly deprives them of what little they have, and a trillion dollars worth of loss to the poorer half of humanity ends up in the pockets of the rich within only five years.

While the ever bigger lies go on justifying the global system that eats the poor alive as ‘poverty amelioration’, ever more of the same policies of accumulation by dispossession justify still more stripping of the majority as more “austerity,” more “welfare cuts,” and more “labour flexibility” – in a word, more starvation and depredation of people's lives and life conditions as “more freedom and prosperity for all.”
I explain this a little differently. The rich are addicted to wealth and power, drugs that are supplied by their system of capitalism. So like all addicts they keep lying to us while they continue to maintain their addictions by exploiting us and the planet's human-supporting biosphere until both are completely degraded. Unless or until we stop them.

Libya: The Imperial Violence Keeps Giving

Click here to access article by Bernhard from Moon of Alabama.

The author provides an excellent review of the Empire's deceitful actions in Libya, and it appears that Pentagon people are itching for more action in this country of chaos and terrorism which we along with our Saudi buddies created in addition to Iraq and Syria in the Middle East. He also supplies new information about why Russia did not veto the UN resolution that allowed the Empire to bomb Libya for "humanitarian" reasons. 

While on the subject of Libya, you might be very interested in this piece by Tony Cartalucci entitled "US-NATO Invade Libya to Fight Terrorists of Own Creation". Yes, a new invasion force is underway! You wouldn't know this if you only paid attention to mainstream media. But its size seems too low for the task and Cartalucci explains why.

How Likely Is The Observed Recent Warmth?

Click here to access article by Mike from RealClimate
With the official numbers now in 2015 is, by a substantial margin, the new record-holder, the warmest year in recorded history for both the globe and the Northern Hemisphere. The title was sadly short-lived for previous record-holder 2014. And 2016 could be yet warmer if the current global warmth persists through the year.

One might well wonder: just how likely is it that we would be seeing these sort of streaks of record-breaking temperatures if not for human-caused warming of the planet?

Historical NH mean temperatures (black solid)

Mathematicians and math majors might get excited about this article; but any way you look at the graphs should leave  you convinced that we are in deep doo-doo.

Tuesday, January 26, 2016

How U.S. and EU Manipulate Public Consciousness: Montenegro

Click here to access article by "DrakulaBlogZ" from his blog. (Note: I surmise that this blogger is from Romania given his identification with Drakula who is a character first encountered in the novel Drakula by Irish writer Bram Stoker in 1897. The setting for the latter story is located in Transylvania which is a region in Romania.)
I’ve been working on this post for a long time, meticulously collecting scraps of information piece by piece to give you a comprehensive picture.

It is well known that the U.S. employs a sophisticated network of non-governmental organizations to manipulate public consciousness in multiple countries across the world. NGOs also play a key role in preparing color revolutions.

These last months I’ve been closely following the events in Montenegro....
He portrays a well-coordinated and comprehensive effort that is underway in Montenegro to shape the conscious of Montenegrins from opposition to their inclusion in NATO and the Empire to outright support. The analysis he provides is an excellent illustration of the Empire's use of propaganda and NGO networks that has been witnessed in many previous color revolutions. What is little understood is that, true to the globalized outlook of the Empire's ruling directorate, they try to utilize this type of operation everywhere in the world where they have established bases of support, including most especially within the US, to create a public consciousness that is compatible with the interests of the Empire's neoliberal capitalist class.

This blogger makes a valiant effort at creating a chart based on his research which shows how the operation functions. In my estimation I think the chart and related analysis is most accurate at the bottom layer, and distortions increase as one peruses succeeding upper layers. Thus the top layer is filled with distortions and errors. This is to be expected because the shadow government operated by the Empire's directorate is for obvious reasons shrouded in secrecy. What is vitally needed is information, leaked or otherwise, that can explicate the mediating structure at the top.

Night of the Living Dead, Climate Change-Style

Click here to access article by Bill McKibben from Post Carbon Institute

Although I have posted articles by authors who have been very critical of McKibben for ultimately serving the interests of fossil fuel corporations, I find little to criticize in this article and much to be praised. Regarding the former, I think he places much too positive a spin on activists ending the reign of fossil fuels. Notice that he sees this battle waged by local activists going on over this entire century which I find much too late to prevent climate destabilization. (I'm not certain that we have not already passed climatic tipping points.) However I see value in this article because he provides details on what activists are up against when they take on the fossil-fuel industry and why the latter's projects continue to be approved by regulatory authorities in spite of the opposition of scientists.

Perhaps it is McKibben's lack of urgency as well as his more benign strategies that provokes critics who see McKibben benefiting from a well-funded career that rather ineffectually opposes the fossil fuel industry.

Israel continues to sow the seeds of discontent

Click here to access article by Jonathan Cook from The National (UAE). 
New [Israeli] legislation is designed to intimidate and silence Israeli human rights organisations – the international community’s eyes and ears in the occupied territories. These groups are to be defined as “moles”, or agents of foreign governments. Justice minister Ayelet Shaked warned that such foreign intervention “endangers democracy”.

The problem is that the governments funding the human rights activity are not Israel’s enemies, but some of its staunchest supporters – European states.
Israel treats Europe’s support for human rights as malign interference, but it welcomes the vast sums channelled its way via the European Union’s special trade agreement and the billions in US military aid. It is this kind of foreign intervention that sustains the occupation.
For the latest atrocity committed by Israelis against Palestinians, read this.

Inequality as discussed by the rich

Sorry, but I didn't have time to track down the cartoonist. The cartoon was posted on Occasional Links & Commentary by economist David Ruccio.

Monday, January 25, 2016

Nationalism and Its Discontents: The Meaning of Trump

Click here to access article by Justin Raimondo from AntiWar.

This is an excellent bifurcation of acceptable political thinking in the US as portrayed in mainstream media and permeates much of the political discussion widely prevalent across the political spectrum which does not exclude so-called leftists. Anti-war critics such as this author are often featured in alternative media and often confused with real leftists and people who are beginning to understand political realities and limits their understanding of critical issues. Critics like Raimondo ultimately serve to defuse real criticism of capitalist rule.

However in this piece Raimondo provides a clear demarcation of capitalist ideology with his analysis of Trump's politics versus his adversaries. (Please ignore his standard capitalist view of American isolationism in 1940--in reality it was heavily infiltrated by pro-Nazis. See this and this.) There is an important political tug-of-war going on in current mainstream US political debate in both parties which I have recently made reference to (see this, and this). I am referring to two capitalist political camps that are forming rather sharp divisions within the ruling class, in conventional political thinking among ordinary people, and particularly coming to the fore in the current Republican party political contests: nation-based capitalist ideology supported by traditional conservatives (Pat Buchanan, Paul Craig Roberts, and Ron Paul) and internationally based capitalist ideology known broadly as neoliberals which are openly supported by neoconservatives.

His analysis by attributing so much influence and power to the new anti-war "isolationists" also is a gross distortion of political realities in the US--they are a vanishing political breed. The neoliberals are clearly playing a dominant role within the ruling class. Their recent attacks on Trump illustrate their power and influence and their interest in pursuing neoliberal policies. There really is no similar bifurcation in the Democratic party which has continued vigorously pursuing neoliberal policies while spouting words like "democracy" and "human rights". Bernie Sanders with his social democratic proposals serves only to return disaffected liberals into the fold of the Democratic party and ultimately to vote for Hillary when she wins the nomination.

On the Effort to Exonerate Team USA for the Rise of ISIS

Click here to access article by David Mizner from his blog Rogue Nation. (a "best post")

In this article Mizner is critical of many Western left journalists, political observers, online and print publications for their anti-Assad position while ignoring considerable evidence, which he supplies, that inculpates the US, Saudi Arabia, and others for the rise of terrorism in Syria and nearby areas.

This is one of the finest pieces of independent investigative journalism that I have seen.

China deploys in the Near East

Click here to access article by Thierry Meyssan from VoltaireNet.

This French journalist and geopolitical analyst describes the latest efforts of Chinese leaders to seduce prominent Middle East rulers to support Chinese economic policies. Under the leadership of China's Communist party, the Chinese leadership since Deng has pursues a course in world affairs that can be described as keeping a low profile while hurriedly developing their economy using capitalist methods. As a part of this strategy they have strenuously avoided any political or military conflicts with the US Empire. Now this economic 800 pound gorilla in the world's room is now using the carrot of economic benefits to increase their influence in the world while quietly providing military aid in support of many antagonists opposed to Israeli and US interests in the region.
The Arab world today is dominated by the United States, who are intent on exploiting it and hindering its development. However, numerous revolts, in Palestine, Syria, Iraq, Yemen and Bahreïn, attest to a will to resistance which is in contrast to the voluntary servitude of the Europeans.

This game, entirely controlled by Washington since Henry Kissinger’s diplomatic successes, has been upset, on the one hand, by the Russian military intervention in Syria and, on the other hand, by the return of Chinese commerce....
You might also be interested to read this piece by Pepe Escobar entitled "China wades into the Iran-Saudi swamp" from RT.

Sunday, January 24, 2016

The Gates Foundation, Ebola, and Global Health Imperialism

Click here to access article by Jacob Levich taken by the editors of The Wrong Kind of Green from a professional journal, American Journal of Economics and Sociology, as a PDF doc.

Although I only scanned most of the 39 pages of this journal article, I felt that it presented some valuable insights on how powerful foundations, as illustrated by the Gates Foundation and their associated NGOs, are collaborating with neoliberal capitalists to undermine nation-based health services particularly in poorer countries. 
ABSTRACT. Powerful institutions of Western capital, notably the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, viewed the African Ebola outbreak of 2014–2015 as an opportunity to advance an ambitious global agenda. Building on recent public health literature proposing “global health governance” (GHG) as the preferred model for international healthcare, Bill Gates publicly called for the creation of a worldwide, militarized, supranational authority capable of responding decisively to outbreaks of infectious disease—an authority governed by Western powers and targeting the underdeveloped world. This article examines the media-generated panic surrounding Ebola alongside the response and underlying motives of foundations, governments, and other institutions. It describes the evolution and goals of GHG, in particular its opposition to traditional notions of Westphalian sovereignty. It proposes a different concept—“global health imperialism”—as a more useful framework for understanding the current conditions and likely future of international healthcare.
This is another report on how multi-national corporations and their benefactors, the rich .01% located mostly in the US-led Empire, are attempting to destroy the autonomy of national governments to manage their public services in favor of global structures under the control of neoliberal-oriented transnational capitalists.

I wish to emphasize that unlike traditional conservatives such as Paul Craig Roberts and Ron Paul, I do not favor existing nation-based capitalist controlled policies. Nations today are mostly dominated by capitalist elites; and because they serve the narrow interests of their nation-based capitalists, they are by no means a progressive form of social policy control.

This current struggle between neoliberals and traditional capitalists (also known as "liberals" in the classic sense) is well covered in alternative media and is beginning to appear in mainstream media largely due to the adverse impact that neoliberalism is having on especially the US middle class. Thus much of alternative media acts to suppress genuine revolutionary thought that wants to overthrow both national and international capitalist control in favor of bottom-up socialist authority structures. In place of genuine revolutionary thought in alternative media, one often finds this critical form known as fake leftism.

Learning to Love — and Use — the Bomb

Click here to access article by Jonathan Marshall from ConsortiumNews
At a time when America’s public sector is apparently too strapped financially even to provide safe drinking water for some of its residents, the Obama administration plans to commit the nation to spending at least $1 trillion over the next three decades to improve our ability to fight a nuclear war. That’s right — an almost unthinkable war that would end up destroying much of the habitable portion of the globe.
Marshall follows this introductory paragraph with recent indications of an updated version ("2.0") of the old nightmarish world of a nuclear arms race. I lived terrified through the first one, but will I survive this one?

What’s Really Going on With Oil?

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

Engdahl looks at a variety of data and concludes that things do not add up to today's low oil prices. Could conspiracies be behind this? Nah, conspiracies such as people getting together in secret to make nefarious plans simply do not exist! (sarcasm)
If there is any single price of any commodity that determines the growth or slowdown of our economy, it is the price of crude oil. Too many things don’t calculate today in regard to the dramatic fall in the world oil price. In June 2014 major oil traded at $103 a barrel. With some experience following the geopolitics of oil and oil markets, I smell a big skunk. Let me share some things that for me don’t add up.

Russia and US are on [a compromise course] in Syrian conflict?

Click here to access article from SouthFront
Today, Jan.24, according to several media reports, Russia and US are getting close for a compromise on the participants of the Syria peace talk which is going to be held next week. Reports say that two separate Syrian opposition delegations are invited to attend the negotiations in Geneva. (My emphasis.)

Reflections on the Paris ISIS Meeting: Talks Filled With Sinful Crime

Click here to access article by Christopher Black from New Eastern Outlook.

Black is a Canadian and a very distinguished and international human rights lawyer who has prosecuted a number of such violations in the world. How dare he accuse the US of war mongering when we all know that our "indispensable" nation is a beacon of human rights! (sarcasm) 

His comments relate to a meeting in Paris four days before the Geneva meeting which started today for all of the participants in the Syrian-Iraq-ISIS war to negotiate a deal to end the warfare. One can't help but think that these war criminals were plotting a strategy for the Geneva meeting.
On January 20th a cabal of dependencies of the United States of America, Australia, Netherlands, Germany, France, and Italy, met in Paris to discuss war on Syria. One of a series of such meetings with a changing list of participants, it included the defence ministers of the countries supporting various proxy forces attacking Syria, either posing as “rebels” or allied with the American created and supported force ISIS. It was in fact a meeting of conspirators planning a war of aggression. There is no other way to put it. This was a criminal act under international law and another dramatic repudiation of the United Nations and everything the United Nations Charter stands for.