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, March 26, 2016

The "Islamophobia" Industry Feeds War Abroad, Grows Police State at Home [a must-read article]

Click here to access article by Tony Cartalucci from Land Destroyer Report. (A "best post")

Cartalucci scores again with an excellent, cutting edge, well-documented essay that offers prime fodder for all people who want to understand the realities behind the facade of Empire policies and actions. What impressed me the most is that much of the management of this facade is exposed. This is well documented in the paper entitled "Conspiracy Theories" which I downloaded (for free) and printed. I have personally witness in my six and half years of blogging the phenomenon that Cartalucci refers to in the following passage:
It has been a stated matter of US policy, best articulated in former-US Administrator of the Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs Cass Sunstein's "Conspiracy Theories" paper, to infiltrate and redirect the alternative media, who even years ago, had already begun to significantly undermine US spheres of influence within global information space.

Called "cognitive infiltration," the idea was to infiltrate the alternative media with messages not directly contradicting the truth, but contradicting it enough to slowly bring readers, viewers, and listeners back into government controlled narratives.
I have noticed in my blogging that alternative websites that I earlier posted articles from have gradually over time become much tamer in their exposure of mainstream lies, much more limited in how far they will go to contest views broadcast by corporate media, and an insidious alignment with mainstream views. This I have not only noticed with regard to politically oriented websites and blogs, but also environmentally oriented sites. 

It is my opinion that most of this is done through the corrosive use of money to seduce people into compromising their views.  This use of money to subvert genuine alternative media and their bloggers, who are constantly begging for financial support, has been particularly effective in a capitalist culture that has always firmly supported individualistic values. 

In the past I had hoped for much more cooperative, organized efforts among alternative sites in support of each other, and by doing so grow stronger and much more effective. Instead they seem to see themselves in competition over the scarce money that is available from donors. With a propaganda-managed mainstream press and a contaminated alternative media, there is little chance of overcoming the widespread information that is leading the US public to a nuclear conflagration in the near future, and to a dramatic destabilization of our climate in the more distant future.

Kerry’s Warped Focus Betrays US Syria Game

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

With the US having been shown up as engaging in fakery by the Russians since the nearly one and one half year of US's war against ISIS, the Empire coalition of Turkey, Saudi Arabia, and Israel continue to thwart real peace efforts in Syria while making noises and gestures to the contrary. What efforts the US is directly engaging in appears to be contributing to their "Plan B" of dismembering Syria by backing the Syrian Kurds and establishing military bases in their region. 

Meanwhile back at the American ranch, corporate and government media portray Americans as heroic guys fighting single-handedly against the outlaws of ISIS as if Russia, Syrians, Iran, and Hezbollah had nothing to do with the diminishing power of ISIS. I am convinced that if these media simultaneously broadcast "news" for a month that the moon is made of green cheese, half of the American population would believe it. (Sorry, I'm feeling a bit cynical this morning.)

Success in business secrets

by cartoonist Carol Simpson.

Friday, March 25, 2016

BRICS Under Attack: Soft Coup in Brazil, US Proxies Move Against ANC in South Africa

Click here if you wish to access the introduction and video discussion directly from YouTube.

My preference for posts is not audio presentations but posted writings in which links can be provided to evidence to back up major points of more independent observers and analysts. However audio transmission is becoming more popular with people on the go who use various small computer devices to listen to such productions. As I've argued before, no one is infallible in interpreting information and observations, but there are some who consistently support the values of social justice and can be relied upon to make their best efforts to present accurate factual evidence and well-balanced analysis. One such person, I believe, is Eric Draitser.
Eric Draitser of http://StopImperialism.org appears on CPR Sunday with broadcaster Don DeBar to discuss the Empire's moves to undermine BRICS. Draitser provides detailed analysis of the individuals and groups behind the protest movement in Brazil, noting that powerful right wing, neoliberal forces are bankrolling the movement to remove the democratically elected left wing government of Dilma Rousseff and the Workers' Party. He also discusses the nature of the protests in South Africa and the powerful players co-opting the movement in the interests of the Empire. Finally, the conversation touches on potential outcomes of this clear offensive by Wall Street and the US establishment, and potential counter-measures by BRICS nations. All this and more in this wide-ranging discussion.
If you do not have time to listen to the entire 55 minute discussion, I especially recommend the first 32 minutes when he discusses what is happening in Brazil and South Africa in particular and the BRICS countries in general. Then for some of his comments that contrast US neoliberal policies with that of China's "win-win" investment policies, I recommend listening from 43:00m to 47:15m.

Brazil’s Revolution Starting to Reveal its True Colors

Click here to access article by Pepe Escobar from RT.

This time the independent Brazilian journalist finds that regime change is happening in his own country, and offers his observations about what is occurring. It seems that the very black pot is calling the more moderately blackened kettle black.
“Justice” in Brazil is now totally politicized. And Car Wash’s mandate is now revealed to clearly consist in the outright criminalization of absolutely anything related to the coalition governments led by the Workers’ Party since the beginning of the first Lula term in 2003.

Car Wash is not about the cleansing of corruption in Brazilian politics; if that really was the target, top opposition politicians would be under investigation, and many behind bars already.
Unlike Draitser who sees the regime changes, and attempts at regime, toward the right in South America as a part of a contest between nations largely ruled by capitalist classes loyal to the US Empire on one side, and on the other, a mixed model of government: capitalist elements combined with more independent nationalist elements that characterize the governments of the BRICS countries, especially the governments of China (under the rule of the Communist Party) and Russia, Escobar sees this as more of a Brazilian phenomenon. (Sorry for the long, convoluted sentence.)
Call it white coup. Call it regime change. Call it the Brazilian color revolution. Without NATO. Without “humanitarian”imperialism. Without blood and zillions of US dollars lost, like in Iraq, Libya or Syria. So “clean”. So “lawful”. How come Empire of Chaos’s theoreticians never thought about this before?

“Humanitarian” imperialism is so old Hillary; at least the Masters of the Universe will have a new template to apply all over the developing world. Happy – regime change – days are here again.

And forget about reading any of this on Western corporate media.

Operation Condor Never Ended: Assassinations and Coup Plots Continue Across Latin America

Click here to access article by Hugo Turner from Global Research

The author reminds us that the battle against the Empire continues throughout Latin America with the right-wing loyalists to the Empire winning some recent battles in Argentina, Venezuela, and looking ominous in Brazil.
Latin America is an often forgotten theater in World War 4 America’s war on the planet that began with the collapse of the Soviet Union. In many ways World War 4 is merely a continuation of World War 3 aka the Cold War and nowhere is this more apparent then in Latin America. Wherever the US maintained it’s control it carried on with the horrific dirty war assassinating anyone who dares to dream and work for a better world. The recent murder of COPINH co-founder Berta Caceres has briefly drawn attention to this never ending wave of murder and assassinations. [my link]

TTIP: "Regulatory Cooperation" a threat to democracy

Click here to access article from Corporate Europe Observatory.

The article points to another threat (in addition to the Investor-state dispute settlement sections in multi-lateral trade treaties) to what passes as democracy in capitalist countries: "regulatory cooperation" clauses in these trade treaties.
The new EU position paper on “regulatory cooperation and good regulatory
practices" offers an insight into how negotiators hope to avoid future "nontariff"
and "technical barriers" to trade. While it is unclear precisely what form
such “cooperation” would take, we understand that the proposals would entail
several changes to EU and US law-making processes.

Thursday, March 24, 2016

Report: War on Drugs Meant to Imprison Blacks, Leftists

Click here to access article and 4:32m video from TeleSur.
John Ehrlichman, chief of domestic policy for disgraced former U.S. President Richard Nixon, admitted that the war against drugs was implemented to criminalize Nixon's enemies: Black people and anti-war hippies.
Dan Baum of Harper's Magazine released a report Tuesday that says Ehrlichman admitted as much in a 1994 interview.
[link supplied by blogger]
Many anti-war activists and African-Americans have known this for a long time, but it's great to hear it from the "horse's mouth". Like all other subjects most Americans still cling to the fairy tales as conveniently presented to them by corporate media.

Straight Talk Hate Talk

Click here to access article from Public Good Project.

This website follows up on a recent article, which exposed the use of non-profit organizations as front groups to attack tribal rights under long standing agreements with the federal government in order to pave the way for a coal terminal (in my county), with this article that gives more background information (mostly via links) on these attacks. 

As I remarked in the previous post, major economic interests are supporting this effort: Goldman-Sachs and Berkshire Hathaway (Warren Buffett). Another non-profit front group that is playing a major role in this attack through the use of lawsuits and propaganda is mentioned in the article: the deceptively named "Northwest Jobs Alliance".

One link takes you to IC Magazine's (a Native American website) post entitled "Wise Use Terrorism: Craig Cole's Anti-Indian Campaign" which argues the following:
The Wall Street/Tea Party Convergence in the fossil fuel export war on the Salish Sea, using counterfeit front groups and political action committees, is a textbook example of Wise Use netwar (networked psychological warfare) exploiting organized racism. Gray ops (misleading propaganda) and black ops (counterfeit front groups) make it possible for Wise Use fossil fuel export developers to confuse mainstream media, and in conjunction with bribery through advertising, ensure that only the industrial point of view is represented in the corporate mainstream news. [my link]

Trickle-Down Economics

by cartoonist Gabe Crate?

Wednesday, March 23, 2016

Zero-Sum: The Savage Vision Driving a Terror-Ridden World

Click here to access article by Chris Floyd from his blog Empire Burlesque

In this essay the Floyd, an independent journalist, embarks on an ambitious quest to explain the continuing terrorist events in Western countries by examining what he regards as a "primitive" orientation of control and domination that has been adopted by so many ruling classes throughout history. Of course recorded history only dates back to about 10,000 years ago, or at most about 2% of human history. Thus little is known about the earlier 98% of human experience. 

Floyd later suggests that this "fiercely primitive worldview" is an "extremely limited worldview", however he doesn't develop the theme that there is another worldview that is characterized by "The idea of equal citizens working, living, and sharing together". Such a worldview is regarded as purely a fantasy by especially those who dominate the world today. 

This is a fundamental issue regarding human nature. It seems obvious that human nature is highly plastic and can take many different forms for long periods of time. Many have argued that, although the latter is true, human nature is not infinitely plastic. Two such people who argue that this "fiercely primitive worldview" is not a fundamental part of human nature are Susan Rosenthal, a retired psychiatrist, and Noam Chomsky, a world famous linguist. Rosenthal's thoughts on this subject can be accessed in Chapter Five of her book Power and Powerlessness and  Chomsky's in an article entitled "Human Nature: Justice versus Power" which features a 1971 debate with Michel Foucault. Eric Fromm after WWII wrote many books featuring a similar concept of human nature. All these concepts suggest that human nature is incompatible with any kind of class rule.

Floyd focuses our attention on more contemporary and false notions of human nature, the most prominent of which is the capitalist ruling class's notion of extreme individualism where everyone is encouraged to believe that they are in competition with everyone else for control and domination. Such beliefs, of course, ultimately justify capitalist class rule.
...the dynamic of domination is key: since nothing exists outside this dynamic, since there is no other way, then one group MUST dominate the others. The idea of equal citizens working, living, and sharing together is a fantasy in this worldview. If blacks or immigrants or women or gays are perceived to have gained a small share in the national life, then that share must have been “taken” from the dominant group. And since, in this view, domination is the goal of all groups, since it is the organizing principle of human life, then those upstart groups are not just seeking a fair share of society’s bounty and freedoms and opportunities; no, they are actually aiming to subjugate the dominant group. In this extremely limited worldview, life is always a zero-sum game. To give someone else more opportunity means less for yourself, and your kind. The freer someone else is, the less free you are. There is only so much to go around. You will find more sophisticated and empathetic worldviews on grade-school playgrounds, or in wolf packs.

And so we come to the foreign policies of Western nations today.

US is Offering False Hope to Syria's Kurds

Click here to access article by Ulson Gunnar from New Eastern Outlook.

I've been amazed at the support of the Syrian Kurds by both Russia and the United States with Turkey, a NATO ally of the latter, on the other side attacking the Kurds both in Syria and Iraq. The US has even gone to the extent of establishing an airbase in the Kurdish area of Syria which, of course, is illegal without the Syrian government's consent. I've wondered how the US rationalizes their support of Syrian Kurds to the Erdogan government in Turkey. And what about the Syrian Kurds who espouse a political ideology that is incompatible with the ideology of the Empire? Thus I've been waiting for independent experts on the Middle East to explain all these mysteries to me. Gunnar is the first I've discovered to attempt to do this, and he does shed a convincing light on some of these mysteries.

It is well known that the US's plan B, although usually regarded as a secondary solution to the destruction of ISIS and related terrorist armies, has been widely supported among US think tanks and government offices. Plan B also is very characteristic of a more general hegemonic orientation of the Empire whose British roots have long practiced this type of divide and rule strategy.
As the British did before them, the United States is an expert in Balkanizing regions, and nations within regions. What is touted as "revolution," "freedom" and "independence" often ends up becoming decades of instability, internal conflict and dependence on the US who had sold the idea of nation-making in the first place.

And while the US promises the Kurds a utopian future state, they have simultaneously promised overlapping spheres within the region to other allies, including Turkey, Saudi Arabia and even Israel. The diabolical brilliance of this arrangement allows the US to create future conflicts, divisions and weakness among all players in the region, between friends and foes alike, ensuring it alone maintains hegemony over a collection of infighting subordinates.
In my mind this begs questions about the political thinking of the Syrian Kurds whose political ideology holds so much promise. Are they naive about this strategy and will end up like so many other balkanized states dependent on the Empire or do they think that they can use the US for the purposes of protecting them from the terrorist armies (sponsored directly and indirectly by the Empire) and Turkey, and then kick them out when those purposes are accomplished? Doesn't such a strategy cause considerable discord with US allies in Saudi Arabia and Turkey? Such questions remain to be answered.

In any case what is coming into glaring focus is the astounding duplicitous nature of the Empire's role in the Syrian conflict and nearby areas. Of course duplicity has been in the nature of all imperial regimes throughout history, but Empire directors seem to have taken this to a whole new level. 

"Meanwhile back at the US ranch", the Empire's corporate media continue to manage all these discrepancies and contradictions with sufficient skill to keep my fellow Americans either totally misinformed or confused or both.

‘This is what happens when you get into bed with extremists’

Click here to access a 12:57 interview conducted by RT with the editor of Politics First Marcus Papadopoulos, commenting on the Brussels blasts.

I was aghast at his first comment (0:30m) about the terrorist attack in Brussels as "demonstrating the evil nature of Islamism", but after that he summarizes all the sponsorship and support of the Empire (US and NATO countries), its Mid-East medieval cronies, and Turkey given to terrorist armies that have tried to overturn the Syrian government. 

Tuesday, March 22, 2016

Scientists Warn of Perilous Climate Shift Within Decades, Not Centuries

Click here to access article by Justin Gillis from the NY Times.
The nations of the world agreed years ago to try to limit global warming to a level they hoped would prove somewhat tolerable. But leading climate scientists warned on Tuesday that permitting a warming of that magnitude would actually be quite dangerous. [my emphasis]

The likely consequences would include killer storms stronger than any in modern times, the disintegration of large parts of the polar ice sheets, and a rise of the sea sufficient to begin drowning the world’s coastal cities before the end of this century, the scientists declared.

Human-driven carbon release rate unprecedented in past 66 million years

Click here to access article from (e) Science News.

This is a very well-written piece for the lay public.
"In studying one of the most dramatic episodes of global change since the dinosaurs, the researchers show that we are currently in uncharted territory in the rate carbon is being released into the atmosphere and oceans," said Candace Major, program director in the National Science Foundation (NSF) Division of Ocean Sciences, which funded the research.

The findings suggest that humans
[now] are responsible for releasing carbon about 10 times faster than during any time in the past 66 million years.

False Solutions: Pitfalls of Emissions Trading / Risks of Carbon Capture and Storage (CCS) and Geo-Engineering

Click here to access a 17:46 video and transcript of a panel discussion in English from Kontext (Germany).

I had difficulty playing the video on this site. You can also access it at this link, and from TNI (I used right click to operate video).
The emission trading scheme has failed as an instrument to curb global warming. The reason for the failure is that there has never been a global cap on carbon emissions. In the end loopholes have caused stagnating or even rising emissions, says Alice Bows-Larkin. Additionally problematic mega-dams have been pushed as green projects. To include forests and soils in the emission trading like it is done with the program REED+ in the Paris agreement would follow a “perverse logic”, says former chief climate negotiator of Bolivia Pablo Solón. Only those who reduce deforestation get carbon credits as a kind of reward. Troubling is also that scientists and politicians rely on carbon capture and storage and geo-engeneering to reduce our emissions in the future. Instead of following these kind of dangerous solutions politics should rather stop the pollution by reducing the extraction of oil, gas and coal in the first place.

US accelerating military encirclement of China

Click here to access article by Peter Symonds from World Socialist Web Site

Symonds brings us up-to-date on the latest happenings in relation to the "pivot to Asia [China]" policy of the Obama administration.
The United States and the Philippines announced last Friday that five of the country’s military bases would be opened up to American forces under the Enhanced Defence Cooperation Agreement (EDCA). The implementation of the Philippine basing arrangement is just one component of the accelerating US military build-up throughout the Indo-Pacific region as part of the Pentagon’s encirclement and war preparations against China.

European Union-Turkey deal to expel refugees comes into force

Click here to access article by Jordan Shilton from World Socialist Web Site
The deal struck last Friday between the European Union’s 28 heads of government and Turkish Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu to facilitate the mass deportation of refugees arriving in Greece came into force on Sunday.

The agreement, negotiated at a special two-day summit with the authoritarian Turkish regime, aims to seal off Europe’s borders to the millions of desperate people fleeing war and social misery produced by a series of wars and military interventions led by the imperialist powers. It represents a flagrant violation of international law by effectively abolishing the right to asylum, leaving the refugees at the mercy of the Turkish government.
The Turkish government in collusion with Saudi Arabia and its satellites and the US Empire which includes the European Union and Israel are responsible for the catastrophe in Syria which has caused so many people to flee for their lives.

Monday, March 21, 2016

Facing Turkey, Europe chooses suicide

Click here to access article by Thierry Meyssan from Voltaire Network
By signing an agreement with Turkey to slow the influx of refugees – which happens to be illegal in international law – the leaders of the European Union have taken a step further in their pact with the devil. A large part of the 3 billion Euros annually allotted to Ankara will serve to finance support for the jihadists, and as a result will increase the number of migrants who are fleeing the war.
This French intellectual covers a lot of ground to support his thesis as expressed in the headline. Although I have posted some of his articles on my website, others have not been posted because of what I considered to be inadequate translations and thus would not be well understood by Americans. I am posting this piece because Meyssan draws on his extensive body of work and other solid sources to portray the irrationality from a European perspective of not only the recent agreement regarding refugees but most of the policies of Europe's ruling class. 

However, must we conclude that European leaders are stupid as Meyssan seems to suggest in the headline? This pattern of rule which he documents suggests to me that European leaders, and the European ruling class that they represent, have been so thoroughly integrated into the US-led Empire that they are really serving the Empire and identify with its global hegemonic orientation. 

We see another excellent example of portraying European leaders as stupid in a briefer article entitled "Is Putin Weaponising Stupidity?" by Rob Slane from his blog TheBlogMire.

America’s Fake War on ISIS Grinds On

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

Unfortunately the link on which his essay is based regarding the hearing at the Senate Committee on Armed Services is no longer valid, however the author has demonstrated over a number of years that he is a very reliable source of information. He expresses his general observation of the hearings as follows:
What the hearing illustrated once again was that it is the US plowing the fields – turning nations into failed-states – and then sowing the seeds of perpetual chaos with heavily armed, well-funded, and well backed mercenary forces to transform entire regions of the world into divided, weak, and perpetually fighting, perpetually shifting conflict zones from which the West’s enemies can be removed, and regimes more to their liking can be installed.

In the one hour plus hearing, nothing resembling a tangible strategy for confronting and defeating ISIS was discussed.

Capitalist trade and its discontents

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

Economist Ruccio writes:

It doesn’t take a genius to understand that international trade under capitalism creates winners and losers. A few winners and lots of losers.

Generations of heterodox economists have demonstrated exactly that—that, both theoretically and empirically, capitalist trade can and often does have diverging class effects. Mainstream economists, however, persist in arguing exactly the opposite: everyone gains from trade.

Sunday, March 20, 2016

History as Propaganda: Why the USSR Did Not ‘Win’ World War II (both parts 1 and 2)

Click here to access part 1 and and part 2 here, both by Michael Jabara Carley from Strategic Culture Foundation.

This Canadian professor tries to correct how history is taught in Western countries. I wish him well in his own Sisyphean task because the teaching of history for ordinary people has become little more than propaganda to insure the new generations manning the imperial armies do so with conviction. Now that Russia is once again appearing in the scopes of the Empire's many weapons, this anti-Russian propaganda campaign is going into high gear.
The title of this article is intended to be ironic because of course the Red Army did play the predominant role in destroying Nazi Germany during World War II. You would not know it, however, reading the western Mainstream Media (MSM), or watching television, or going to the cinema in the west where the Soviet role in the war has almost entirely disappeared.

If in the West the Red Army is largely absent from World War II, the Soviet Union’s responsibility for igniting the war is omnipresent.
In both parts he uses mostly the shorthand expression of naming countries in place of specifying capitalist ruling classes of those countries. This omission also allows him to make the most egregious omission of all. The prime reason why Western capitalist countries engaged in so much perfidy with regard to the Soviet Union and were so sympathetic toward the growing fascist menace in Europe was the crime of rejecting capitalism in the Soviet Revolution of 1917--the 800 pound gorilla in the room of the 20th century! This is as close as the professor comes to this most important fact:
During the interwar years, the Russophobia was mixed with Sovietophobia: it was a clash of two worlds between the West and the USSR, the Silent Conflict, Litvinov called it. 
A "clash of two worlds"? Such obfuscation of history results in a gross distortion of history! Gone are any references to the indisputable fact that around 13 capitalist nations invaded Russia immediately following their revolution and many of these nations also funded the White armies opposing the Bolsheviks. The viscerally hostile reaction by leading capitalist classes to the Soviet revolution colored so much of the history of the 20th century.

The actual WWII Soviet contribution to the defeat of fascism as described by the professor is accurate, but this glaring omission results in this distortion of history--this time apparently in service to the new capitalist ruling class in Russia which refuses to submit to the rule of the Empire capitalists. Or maybe in service to what has become fashionable among "leftists" in the West: promotion of a "multi-polar" capitalist world.

The Honorable Market Garland

Click here to access article by the creator of Habeas Quaestus blog.

She supplies more information (see this) about the new Supreme Court nominee.
With the nomination of Merrick Garland, the Obama administration and Democratic establishment have doubled down on upholding neoliberalism as the core of the party’s politics. The legal punditry must break free of the misleading categories that have long dominated our analysis, especially of the Supreme Court. Pro or anti-government; progressive or textualist; and activist or conservative all are false binaries and obfuscate the truth. Judge Garland in particular reveals a truth that the marginalized people of this country have known for centuries: the law is construed to fit the politics of the powerful.

The invention of capitalism

by Peter Chiykowski from his website Rock, Paper, Cynic.