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, February 6, 2016

Syria: NATO’s Last Desperate Options in Lost Proxy War

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

Using Empire primary sources which revealed their directors past plans and given the current facts on the ground, Cartalucci speculates on the various moves that various Empire players, including Saudi Arabia and Turkey, might make, and are presently considering, to salvage something out of their deteriorating plans to destabilize Syria.

Because Empire planners together will their Mid-East allies of Saudi Arabia, Turkey, and Israel had secretly established the proxy army known as ISIS but always identified the latter as a terrorist army which somehow magically appeared fully armed and with sophisticated internet skills, these countries are now forced to cloak their salvaging operation plans as "fighting ISIS".
ISIS, as it has always been designed to be, serves merely as a pretext for justifying any prospective operation by the US and its regional allies – an operation that will be in all reality aimed at challenging and rolling back Syrian and Russian gains on the battlefield – or at the very least, providing an unassailable sanctuary within Syrian territory for the West’s defeated proxies to retreat to.
And you should also read Joe Lauria's take on the Syrian geopolitical situation in an article entitled "Risking World War III in Syria". He expresses a more ominous warning about the potential for a confrontation between Russia and the US.
What we are potentially facing is a war that goes beyond the Soviet-U.S. proxy wars of the Cold War era, and beyond the proxy war that has so far taken place in the five-year Syrian civil war. Russia is already present in Syria. The entry of the United States and its allies would risk a direct confrontation between the two largest nuclear powers on earth.

European Council on Foreign Relations funded by George Soros

Click here to access article by Vanessa Beeley from her blog The Wall Will Fall.

Beeley reveals how the US ruling class funded and important European political think tank to influence European policies to support the interests of the US Empire.  As we have seen, this support has been effectively influenced European leaders to support the separation of Europe's economic and security interests from that of Russia and the Empire's anti-Russian policies. This is an excellent illustration of a modern version of the old "divide and conquer" strategy used historically by all imperialists.

The Guantanamo of Colombia: Pressure Mounts to Shut Down Notorious US-Funded Prison

Click here to access article by John Ocampo from Upside Down World
Built in the year 2000, with U.S. Federal Bureau of Prisons and USAID funding, as part of the penitentiary restructuring component of Plan Colombia, “La Tramacua” is a veritable house of horrors.
Meanwhile back at the Empire's central command in Washington, the ruling class's chief of public relations (known formally as the "President"), Obama, is lauding the accomplishments of Plan Columbia and throwing in obligatory comments about "human rights", etc, while indicating that he will be asking Congress for more aid in the future.

In addition to projects like the prison, Plan Colombia and all the aid projects covered by their fake drug war has enabled Empire directors to establish military bases in many places in Central and South America. Scroll down to the section of this latter article to the section entitled "Plan Colombia, Continued" for details on US military bases in Colombia.

Learning from the life of Murray Bookchin

Click here to access article by Eirik Eiglad from Reflections on a Revolution (ROAR).

Eiglad presents a review of a new book entitled Ecology or Catastrophe: The Life of Murray Bookchin by his companion of 20yrs, Janet Biehl. He makes reference to the title of this review with this statement: 
This book, however, is not only for the initiated. It deserves to be read by anyone who would like to know more about American radicalism in the last century, or learn more about the genealogy of social ecology.
And reaches this conclusion:
Biehl’s book presents a lucid overview and a lively introduction to Bookchin and the emergence of social ecology.

The Zika Virus Is Harmless - Who Then Benefits From This Media Panic?

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

The author has dug up substantial evidence that poses some disturbing questions: is corporate media drumming up another false panic over a disease? And, if so, who benefits?

Friday, February 5, 2016

US Regime Change Talks on Syria hit blind alley

Click here to access article by Finian Cunningham from American Herald Tribune.
Washington and its allies were never serious about finding a genuine peaceful settlement. Now that the wheels have come off this snake-oil bandwagon, the US and its partners are obliged to find some “explanation”to sell to world opinion.

Hence, blame the Syrian government and its Russian ally for blasting the Geneva talks. But the world is not fooled by such reality-inversion. The Western powers’ plans for regime change in Syria just rolled into another blind alley.

The real danger, however, is that Washington and its allies might now attempt a direct military intervention in Syria out of desperation.

Washington Post Op-Ed Calls for "Safe Zones" in Syria

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

Here Cartalucci draws our attention to the other US "newspaper of record", the Washington Post, which is trying to prepare the American public for another "humanitarian" intervention, this time it's a more direct one in Syria after their first strategy, the sponsorship of "moderate" terrorist armies, failed to bring down the latest enemy of our ruling capitalist class, the elected Syrian government of President Assad. To make sure the ever gullible majority of the American public supports the intervention, or at least are resigned to it, our imperialist masters are marketing it as creating "safe zones".
America's last option in Syria will likewise [like Libya] divide and destroy the country should it succeed. It will condemn tens of thousands of civilians to violent sectarian-driven deaths and drive hundreds of thousands more out of Syria into neighboring countries and onward to Europe to escape the predictable chaos.

The only "safe haven" that will exist will be for terrorist factions ranging from the "moderate" Al Qaeda groups the US and its allies openly back, to the Islamic State which the West more covertly backs. As Libya has been used to destabilize and launch operations against its neighbors, so too will Syria - being aimed at the remnants of the Iraqi government, Hezbollah in Lebanon, and of course Iran itself.

Why the ‘Sultan of Chaos’ is freaking out

Click here to access article by Pepe Escobar from RT.

This witty and rather cynical, but perceptive Brazilian independent journalist takes aim at Turkey's megalomaniac Erdogan, his obsession with the Kurds and Russian interference, and his blackmailing of NATO by flooding Europe with the nearby regions' legions of war-fleeing refugees.
Moscow is going after the Turkmen with a vengeance and at the same time providing air support to the PYD [Kurd progressives] west of the Euphrates. That hits the ‘Sultan’ in his heart of hearts; after all Erdogan has threatened multiple times that a PYD/YPG advance west of the Euphrates is the ultimate red line.

An already scared NATO won’t support the folly of an Erdogan war against Russia – as much as US and UK neocons may crave it; as NATO decisions must be unanimous, the last thing EU powers Germany and France want is yet another Southwest Asia war. NATO may deploy the odd Patriot missiles in southern Anatolia and the odd AWACs to support the Turkish Air Force. But that’s it.

Freeing Julian Assange: the last chapter

Click here to access article by John Pilger from OffGuardian
The Assange case is rooted across the Atlantic in Pentagon-dominated Washington, obsessed with pursuing and prosecuting whistleblowers, especially Assange for having exposed, in WikiLeaks, US capital crimes in Afghanistan and Iraq: the wholesale killing of civilians and a contempt for sovereignty and international law. None of this truth-telling is illegal under the US Constitution. As a presidential candidate in 2008, Barack Obama, a professor of constitutional law, lauded whistleblowers as " …part of a healthy democracy [and they] must be protected from reprisal”. Obama, the betrayer, has since prosecuted more whistleblowers than all the US presidents combined. The courageous Chelsea Manning is serving 35 years in prison, having been tortured during her long pre-trial detention.

Leak Reveals Denver Police Use Undercover ‘Shadow Teams’ To Target Protest Leaders

Click here to access article by Kit O'Connell from Mint Press News.

If you are awake and aware that our nation is ruled by a tiny class of people who own and/or control every important institution in our society, then you will understand that the ultimate method of control used by this tiny class is their control over all their enforcement agencies who are authorized to use violence together with secret operations to protect the system of capitalism that sustains their rule, provides them with so much wealth, gives them so much power over us, allows them to pollute the earth, invade other countries, and commit so many other crimes against humanity. 

We have witnessed in recent years the strengthening of these enforcement agencies with military grade weapons, and many years before that, the use of various means of surveillance and infiltration used by their secret agencies to deter any significant challenge to their rule. Such police-state type methods are always used after all the softer methods to control working people fails. The latter methods range from the pervasive lies broadcast by their corporate media to the more subtle forms of indoctrination that this class uses in their educational institutions to infect and pollute the thinking of every person to support their class's rule.

Thus if your activism takes you to places where you may encounter the attention of these ruling class enforcement agencies such as this latest protest in Chicago, you must be informed of how they operate. This article, including the links it contains, will help you become informed.

The New Global Financial Cold War

Click here to access this 1 hour audio interview with Michael Hudson discussing the paper he recently wrote entitled "The IMF Changes Its Rules To Isolate China and Russia" from Guns and Butter program broadcast by KPFA in Berkeley, California.

If you are enduring a long commute by car or travel by air, you might be very interested in listening to Hudson's comments which expands on his paper published in December
Dr. Hudson discusses his paper, The IMF Changes Its Rules To Isolate China and Russia; implications of the four policy changes at the International Monetary Fund in its role as enforcer of inter-government debts; the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) as an alternative military alliance to NATO; the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB) threatens to replace the IMF and World Bank; the Trans Pacific Partnership Treaty; the China International Payments System (CIPS); WTO investment treaties; Ukraine and Greece; different philosophies of development between east and west; break up of the post WWII dollarized global financial system; the world dividing into two camps.

Thursday, February 4, 2016

There Is No Freedom Without Truth — Paul Craig Roberts

Click here to access article by Paul Craig Roberts from his blog. 

This traditional conservative, former member of the Reagan administration, and critic of the current neoliberal capitalist ruling class that now controls our country and much of the world, makes a passionate plea for Americans to wake-up and search for the truth. 

I totally agree with his plea. You see, one value stuck with me from my religious training: "And ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free." (2 John 1:4-6, King James version of the bible). While I no longer believe that the truth will precisely make you free--it often sickens you--it does enable you to live an authentic existence which in itself is liberating. 

Unfortunately Roberts has not succeeded in knowing all or most of the truth, but I heartily support his endeavor. He is definitely a decent and healthy human being. But most others of his class are not. At this point in his journey to know the truth, he is targeting only the "military-industrial complex". He does not see the system that enables this section or class in society to function the way they do. He does not see that the system has created a tiny class of people who are engaging in monstrous crimes against other classes and against working people most everywhere in the world.  The people in this class, with the exception of few people like Roberts, are often sociopaths and addicts--hopelessly addicted to the drugs of power and wealth that is delivered by their system of capitalism. Their addictions cause them to engage in all kinds of criminal behavior, and often on a massive scale. In this article Roberts provides many of the details of their compulsive lying and deceptions while committing these crimes, and their smearing of dissenters.

Inequality of opportunity (3 graphs)

Click here to access article by David Ruccio from Real-World Economics Review Blog.

By posting these three graphs, Ruccio, and economist, illustrates how class advantage distorts economic opportunities for working people under capitalism.
It’s impossible to defend the grotesque—and growing—levels of inequality that characterize U.S. capitalism.

But, as they have throughout American history, some people still try. Their most common argument is that there’s nothing wrong with unequal outcomes as long as there is equal opportunity.

Hmmm, not so much.

"Lies, Lies And More Lies" - Poisoned Agriculture, GMOs And Toxic Rants

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

Todhunter scores again with this piece about the conflict of science with capitalist interests. 

Science has long been venerated because of the enormous benefits that it has bestowed on humans to rid societies of disease, famine, ignorance, etc, while raising the standard of living of most people. Of course, science has also made possible the most destructive weapons, weapons which now threaten the survival of humans. Science has also been used to develop products which have later been found harmful to humans. However what is less known is the struggle that scientists have had with capitalist ruling classes who have been much more interested in the accumulation of wealth and power than benefiting general populations. Capitalists have largely won out in this struggle by flat-out lying to, or withholding information from, their consumers, and smearing scientists.

In this article, and many others, Todhunter reveals the lies they have told about a very profitable industry--GMO food production, and their constant undermining and censorship of evidence furnished by scientists which show the harmful events of this industry.

Beijing Vs DC: The Battle for Southeast Asia

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

Ever since the rise of first the British, and a few decades later, all Western capitalists in their countries where the harnessing of steam power to power machines gave capitalist production enormous advantages in producing goods cheaper than the older skilled craftsmen in other countries, production was oriented not to supply the real needs of the host countries, but used imperialistically to accumulate wealth and, above all, power over foreign lands in the hands of a very few Euro-American capitalists. 

You see, the capitalist system, because of its foundation on individual ownership of a social means of production, is not designed to serve the real needs of people but to supply wealth and power to a tiny class of people known as capitalists.

Nothing really has changed except that 21st century capitalists, instead of openly using gunboats, now prefer to use the most sophisticated propaganda and bribery to leaders of targeted nations, and propaganda to the general population in their host countries, to provide cover for their actions in pursuit of power and wealth. Cartalucci reports of the difficulties that the Empire is having with China while pursing these these policies and actions in southeast Asia.

Building common cause for social movement events

Click here to access article by David Spratt and David McKnight from Climate Code Red (Australia). 

Based on several decades of experience our Australian activist friends share with us what they have learned about organizing for a mass demonstration.
Here we reflect on some understandings from participating in the organising of such events over several decades, including peace and anti-war movements, for human rights and social and economic justice, in support of liberation struggles, and in the successful November 2015 People's Climate Marches. Some of these learnings may seem obvious, but that does not stop them from being overlooked.  This list is far from comprehensive!

How Much Do We Hate Our Children?

Click here to access article by Jeff Bryant from Uncommon Thought Journal

Bryant makes a strong case that most adults of our nation must hate their children, particularly children of poor families. However, in doing so he misses the larger picture of a ruling class that "hates" or neglects or exploits everyone who is powerless and vulnerable in society. That goes for the elderly, people with disabilities, the unskilled, the poor, the homeless, etc. 

Such behavior is to be expected of a class of people who are addicted to power and it's delivery system of wealth known as capitalism. Thus, it is not helpful to say or imply that "we", except for teachers, hate our children. We must accurately identify the origin of the problem if we are going to solve the abuse or neglect of our children and all the other problems that infect our society and the world.

Wednesday, February 3, 2016

Policing and Profit

Click here to access article from the Harvard Law Review. (Note: I was alerted to this article by a reader of the Real-World Economics Review Blog and posted on the latter blog. I am posting the article from the original source as a matter of policy, because it is free of errors, and contains very valuable references which the secondary posting lacks. Because the article is unsigned, the "About" section of this leading scholarly law journal indicates that it was written by a member-student or students who consist of 2nd and 3rd year law students at Harvard.) 

I was rather shocked by the extent of privatization of the legal system and the gross injustice and exploitation that poor citizens experience who become entangled in it. My second reaction was my astonishment that no one in alternative media had alerted us (as far as I know) to this kind of material last year, and my third reaction was astonishment that the ruling class are fully aware of their system of injustice for poor and minority people: much more so by coverage like this that targets the elite than ordinary citizens who have not had such experience with the judicial system.
When residents of Ferguson, Missouri, took to the streets last August to protest the death of Michael Brown, an unarmed black teenager killed by a white police officer, the events dramatically exposed an image of modern policing that most Americans rarely see: columns of police pointing military weaponry at peaceful protesters. But the ongoing tension between residents and police in Ferguson was also indicative of another, less visual development in how the police are used to oppress impoverished communities: using law enforcement to extract revenue from the poor.
Also, on the same subject, view this chart and read the brief explanation in a posting entitled "Charged with Immigration Offense" that shows how many private companies profit from the detention of immigrants to the US.

Who Owns the Zika Virus?

Click here to access article by Guillaume Kress from Global Research

Kress has uncovered some startling information ignored by mainstream media in this excellent example of investigative reporting. The information illustrates how capitalists will go to extreme lengths to convert everything they can into a commodity. The ownership of this particular commodity begs the question: who knows how they are using their "ownership" of this particular commodity to accumulate more profits and power?

Let Us Prey

Click here if you wish to access this cartoon by cartoonist Mike Konopacki directly from Huck/Konopacki Cartoons.

Tuesday, February 2, 2016

How the CIA Helped Fuel the Rise of ISIS

Click here to access article by Jeremy R. Hammond from his blog. (article of the month!)

This independent journalist reveals with excellent documentation how the Empire's "newspaper of record" manages and defuses dissent from the imperialist policies of the Empire which it serves.
...while inconvenient facts occasionally manage to slip through the cracks, the New York Times, as in its recent report on the US-Saudi alliance against the Assad regime, routinely whitewashes the US role, and, namely, the fact that the US had a policy dating to early 2012 of coordinating the flow of arms to Syrian rebels with full knowledge that the arms were winding up in the hands of extremist groups and despite warnings from the intelligence community that this would fuel the rise of the movement we know today as ISIS.

Such truths are tossed down the memory hole because, at the New York Times, it just doesn’t meet the narrative.

The Empire Files: Examining the Syria War Chessboard

Click here if you wish to access this 23:31m video interview with Vijay Prasad directly from TeleSur.
The war in Syria is an unparalleled crisis. It has gone far beyond an internal political struggle, and is marked by a complex array of forces that the U.S. Empire hopes to command: Saudi Arabia, Turkey, Kurdistan, Iran, Lebanon, Iraq and more. To simplify this web of enemies and friends, Abby Martin interviews Dr. Vijay Prashad, professor of International Studies at Trinity College and author of several books.
What I really like about his commentary is the underlying thesis he develops about the illegitimacy of violent force used by the Empire, Turkey, and Saudi Arabia to enforce their interests on the Middle East but which ultimately undermines all such attempts and ends in the chaos we see today. But this creation of chaos may be, as many others including myself have argued (simply enter "chaos" or "Salvador option" in one of my search boxes), in the interests of the Empire and intended by them. Pepe Escobar even refers to the Empire as the "Empire of Chaos".

The Rise of ISIS and Other Extremist Groups: the role of the West and Regional Powers [late posting]

Click here to access article by Bouthaina Shaaban from CounterPunch. [posted at 1:45 Seattle time]

Author's bio: 
Bouthaina Shaaban is Political and Media Advisor at the Syrian Presidency, and former Minister of Expatriates. She is also a writer and professor at Damascus University since 1985. She has been the spokesperson for Syria and was nominated for Nobel Peace Prize in 2005.
Although she is, or has been, connected to the Syrain Assad government, her article has a very credible ring of authenticity to it. It is corresponds well with independent sources that I've posted in the past, it is well documented, and includes a sound bibliography.

She provides an excellent historical summary of the most significant events that have created the present situation in Syria. 

Pentagon Papers Whistleblower: Kennedy Resisted ‘Nuclear Cultist’ Joint Chiefs

Click here to access article and one hour video featuring Daniel Ellsberg from Mint Press.

If you want to learn the real history of the Vietnam War, you can do no better than this report (and series) from someone who had intimate knowledge of what was going on. In this report Ellsberg reveals the clash between the "nuclear cultists" who were fanatic anti-communists and Kennedy which was another main reason why he was assassinated by our shadow government. In the future we will likely not have a president like Kennedy to stand up against such fanatic Empire builders.
MintPress News is proud to host “Lied to Death,” a 13-part audio conversation between famed whistleblower Daniel Ellsberg and social justice activist Arn Menconi.

Menconi wrote that these interviews are a “mixture of historical, political science and Dan’s sixty-year scholarly analysis as a former nuclear planner for Rand Corporation.”

.... In this chapter of “Lied to Death,” Daniel Ellsberg continues to explore President John F. Kennedy’s involvement with the Vietnam War and other military conflicts in Asia, including his resistance to the use of nuclear weapons and ground troops, a topic also discussed in Chapter 4.

Politics On The Plate: Mob Wives, GMOs And Salt

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

This essay points in slightly a different direction than most his writings. With his long experience living in India, this English blogger summons intellectual resources from there to deal with the vital question of how a revolutionary consciousness can be created. 

This got me thinking about my own blog and others that aim at a more educated public than what Todhunter suggests we should be targeting: people whose life circumstances prevent them from acquiring anything beyond a basic education. After some reflection I think that we bloggers are correct in addressing an audience of people who primarily reside in the middle class.

First of all, people who follow our blogs, I think, use mostly computers to access them. My rather limited experience with hand-held electronic gadgets has left me with the opinion that they are designed more for instant communication between their possessors and to direct the latter to mostly mainstream and commercial websites. Thus I tend to view the gadgets as providing another weapon in the arsenal of the ruling class to deflect people from accessing more serious websites/blogs which offer critiques of mainstream opinion.

In Western countries computers are used most often by people in the middle class who have more than an average education. Hence our content must be similarly at an intellectual level to appeal to these people. Furthermore the middle class (managers, professionals, scientists, and highly skilled technicians) are vital to the rule of capitalists--the latter's system could not function without them. The latter reason is why capitalists provide them with so many perks and much higher salaries instead of low hourly wages. Also there are many indications, which I have frequently commented on, that suggest that middle class people are now feeling an increasing sense of precarity in their lives which makes them much more receptive to political consciousness raising efforts.

My argument in no way suggests that other people should not engage in political work that appeals to the more concrete issues that affect less educated working people's lives. There are plenty of opportunities for all activists to do revolutionary work, but we must tailor our methods to the circumstances of the people we wish to convince. While I disagree with Todhunter's main point, I am so glad that he posted this essay to get us thinking about the best revolutionary strategies.

Monday, February 1, 2016

Electionless inter-governmentalism über alles

Click here to access article by Leigh Phillips from Reflections on a Revolution (ROAR).

(Note: My following comments also essentially applies to another recent essay on ROAR entitled "The CUP: up to its neck in politics" by Peter Gelderloos.)

What is so striking about both articles is the lack of an essential analysis from an anti-capitalist perspective. Gelderloos barely mentions capitalism in one paragraph, but the rest of his analysis ignores the essential anti-democratic nature of capitalism which undermines every institutional attempt at a democratic practice. Thus he lamely and vaguely suggests that people (apparently in reference to anarchists) must create their own democracy. He fails to see that no structural features of societies, including especially institutions, are independent of a society that is structured into classes--basically into two classes: workers and "owners"--and thus always must contend with anti-democratic influences.

In this piece by Phillips capitalism is totally ignored while the overwhelming emphasis is on the anti-democratic nature of European governance. It seems to me that the European left has not gotten over the dissolution of their celebrated safety nets that existed in the post-WWII era which ended as the virulent rise of neoliberal capitalism impacted their new governance of the European Union. Thus they are complaining and confused about the deterioration of social-economic conditions under the more recent neoliberal infected policies of the European-wide governmental structures. In the past many Europeans were appeased by the safety nets, and as a result they failed to see the anti-democratic nature of their governments. Now with the establishment of supra-European governing structures, the dramatic increase of inequality and lack of any significant democracy is much more obvious. 

Their confusion lies in the fact that they fail to recognize that capitalism is antithetical to a genuine democracy. Capitalist regimes can only create at best their more celebrated form of bourgeois democracy, which is capitalism's fake form of democracy, and at their worst, fascism. I believe that European as well as American leftists too often confuse bourgeois democracy with the real thing, fail to understand the difference between the two, and underestimate the power of capitalist ideological centers to spread this confusion.

I wish I could offer a revolutionary program as an alternative to this European leftist confusion, but that will be up to all clear thinking revolutionaries everywhere.

Hillary Clinton Brags About Getting Her Marching Orders From The CFR

Click here to access article by Brandon Turbeville from his website. 

Sometimes Hillary Clinton inadvertently and candidly expresses such insights about how government decisions are controlled by unelected members of the capitalist class ensconced in "think tanks" such as the Council on Foreign Relations. There are numerous others. 

The top ones in the US, according to a University of Pennsylvania study entitled "2014 Global Go To Think Tank Index Report" (p. 77), are (in order of importance): Brookings, Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, Center for Strategic and International Studies, and the Council on Foreign Relations. Precisely how the policy recommendations of these think tanks are mediated is a mystery that needs to be solved. Regarding foreign policies, I think that most are translated into action by the US Security Council.

Sunday, January 31, 2016

Liberal ideology

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

Economist Ruccio gives an excellent explanation about the limits of debate that is tolerated in the capitalist form of "democracy" also known as "bourgeois democracy".
I know what liberal ideology in economics is all about. I’ve encountered it at every turn, even before I began my formal studies in economics. The same is true of liberal ideology in politics, which has shown its ugly face once again in the current electoral campaign.

In both cases, liberal ideology is based on the idea that the existing system, while perhaps imperfect, is the only game in town. It is a conception both of what is and of how change can and should take place—gradually and without major disruption. According to liberals, the biggest threat is populism, when the masses of people challenge the existing common sense and seek radical change.

COP21 – climate and capitalism

Click here to access article by Joe Sabatini from Revolutionary Socialism in the 21st Century.

Sabatini reviews the agreement reach at the recent climate talks in Paris and concludes that it was more about capital than meeting the demands of climate destabilization. Furthermore in order to seriously deal with the future crisis of climate destabilization, our capitalist masters would have to make colossal sacrifices. They much prefer to stick their heads in the sand of conventional capitalist remedies, chief among them is to let the market solve the problem. 

It is obvious that our masters are so committed to a system that delivers them the opiates of power and wealth that they are unable to cope with the demands of a real solution which would require a change of systems. Unfortunately, Sabatini's revolutionary recommendation doesn't suggest that he has much hope for a revolution.

You have now landed in Geneva, Syria

Click here to access article by Pepe Escobar from RT

There have been many delays to the latest meeting among forces involved in the war in Syria mostly relating to the question of participants. Many informed sources like Escobar don't hold out much hope for the talks to settle the numerous complicated conflicts in a peaceful way.
The alleged Syrian peace process now enters its Geneva charade stage. This could last months; get ready for lavish doses of posturing and bluster capable of stunning even Donald Trump.

The notion that Geneva may be able to impersonate Damascus in a suit-and-tie pantomime is ludicrous to begin with. Even the UN envoy, the sartorially superb Staffan de Mistura, admits the Sisyphean task ahead - even if all relevant players were at the table.

Then we have Syrian “opposition figure” George Sabra announcing that no delegation from the Riyadh-based High Negotiations Committee will be at the table in Geneva. As if Syrians needed an “opposition” instrumentalized by Saudi Arabia.

So in the interest of providing context, here’s an extremely concise recap of recent, crucial facts on the Syrian ground which the “new capital” Geneva may ignore at its own peril.
To help you follow the numerous references that Escobar makes regarding locations in Syria, I have provided this map showing the Kurdish cantons (not sure about the borders being currently accurate) and other cities.


Lobbying’s Mile-High Plateau

Click here to access article by Michael Winship from ConsortiumNews.

Winship gives us many details of corporate lobbying which mainstream media almost totally ignores. But such lobbying together with campaign contributions and control over the machinery of both parties are the indispensable methods used by the capitalist ruling class to control the way government works. Lobbying goes hand-in-hand with campaign contributions. The former advises the legislator on how to vote and the campaign contributions are held out as the carrot. If a legislator defies his benefactors, he risks having them both withdraw funds from his electoral campaigns and their funding of another candidate to run against them. 

This is what happened to Sen. Frank Church's brilliant career in the Senate: he was opposed to the Vietnam War, he investigated the illegal operations of the CIA, NSA, FBI and other secret services and uncovered many of their actions ranging from intercepting, tracking, and opening US mail to assassinations of foreign leaders. He prophetically warned the nation about their use of new technologies that made it possible for these agencies to intercept all communications among Americans.

Climate Time Machine

Click here to access a very interesting interactive display from NASA.  
This series of visualizations shows how some of Earth's key climate indicators are changing over time.

Humans will be remembered for leaving a 'plastic planet'

Click here to access article by Oliver Tickell from Ecologist (Britain).

Long after we go extinct [which increasingly looks like this could happen within decades] the human presence on Earth will be marked by a geological stratum rich in plastic garbage, according to a new study. Long-lived plastics are already widespread over the ocean floor, and there's a lot more on its way. Forget the 'Anthropocene' - the human era should rightly be called the Plasticene.

Nuclear renaissance? Failing industry is running flat out to stand still

Click here to access article by Dr Jim Green from Ecologist (Britain).

Despite the ballyhoo over a nuclear powered future that we hear so frequently, Green has done a survey of many countries regarding construction of new plants and shutdowns of existing ones and concludes that it is more likely that nuclear power will be declining in the future.
Despite the endless rhetoric about a 'nuclear renaissance', there are fewer power reactors today than there were a decade ago, writes Jim Green. The one country with a really big nuclear build program is China, but no one expects it to meet its targets. And with over 200 reactor shut-downs due by 2040, the industry will have to run very hard indeed just to stay put.