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, April 2, 2016

The social crisis and the US elections

Click here to access article by Barry Grey from World Socialist Web Site.'

Grey first explains the real employment numbers behind the fake numbers that the Obama administration is celebrating followed by the fakery of the US elections. Deception is the prime method of any ruling class to maintain power and wealth, and the existing capitalist class in the US is demonstrating their mastery of this skill.

Hillary Clinton Lies About Being Lied About On Fossil Fuel Connections

Click here to access article by Dan Wright from Shadowproof.

It seems to me that the ability to lie is a prime qualification for assuming the presidential office of the US Empire, and Hillary demonstrates once again that she is well qualified. She seems to be sponsored by the richest and most powerful segments of the Empire including Zionists, so how can she lose the well managed elections?

In Syria, militias armed by the Pentagon fight those armed by the CIA

Click here to access article by Nabih Bulos , W.J. Hennigan and Brian Bennett from the LA Times.

This corporate newspaper tries hard to explain that it is too complicated to prevent various groups that the US funds from battling each other in Syria.
“This is a complicated, multi-sided war where our options are severely limited,” said a U.S. official, who wasn't authorized to speak publicly on the matter. “We know we need a partner on the ground. We can't defeat ISIL without that part of the equation, so we keep trying to forge those relationships.”
It's clear from this and other sources that the CIA is funding terrorist groups to militarily weaken the Syrian government, whereas the Pentagon is supporting the Kurdish forces to accomplish "Plan B" to break up Syria. Also this article makes clear that the CIA is operating from Turkey to furnish weapons to their terrorist armies which, according to other sources (see this and this, often give them to ISIS (ISIL). The resulting chaos in Syria seems to me to be a deliberate policy of the Empire of Chaos.  

Left unasked is the 800 pound gorilla question: what justification does the US, its NATO ally Turkey, its medieval allies Saudi Arabia and Qatar, and its fortress colony of Israel have to attempt to destabilize the Syrian government?

Capital and wage-labor

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

Capitalism is an economic system in which most people receive a wage or salary working in corporations for a small number of people who run those corporations and appropriate the resulting surplus in the form of profits.

That’s not a definition you’ll find in mainstream economics textbooks or most political debates these days. But it does capture what is distinctive about capitalism compared to other economic systems.

Increase in top 1% income share greatest in the U.S.

Click here if you wish to directly access this graph posted by the editor of Real-World Economics Review Blog. Note that the graph does not reflect income from capital gains.

Friday, April 1, 2016

The US Treasury's 'Silver Bullet' Falls Short

Click here to access article by Alastair Crooke from Conflicts Forum

Crooke sees that the overuse of economic sanction by Empire directors may be accelerating a response in kind from Russia, China, and other nations.

He begins this essay by arguing that, due to the popularity of economic sanctions in US political circles, the US is not in fact withdrawing sanctions on Iran to comply with last year's deal with Iran (JCPOA). He then widens this focus to show that nations which are not under the control of the US Empire (mainly the BRICS) are beginning to fight back against the application of economic warfare by building alternative financial institutions and economic retaliatory weapons.

Fueling Fascism: The Secret History of How Texaco Supplied Oil to Fascists in Spain

Click here if you wish to access the transcript of the 13:20m interview with author, journalist, and lecturer Adam Hochschild from Democracy Now!.

It is very important to realize that Texaco's history of supporting fascist powers in the Spanish Civil War, which extended into WWII, is only one illustration of a number of such corporations that supported fascism. (IT&T, General Motors, Ford are among many others that I immediately recall.) It is very important to obtain a meaningful understanding of this devastating war to see it as a dress rehearsal for WWII. This history has been subject to gross distortions by capitalist historians in an effort to portray it as a kind of folklore for their subjects--ordinary workers and their families--as a contest between us "good guys", the "democratic" powers, against the fascist "bad guys".

The history is much too complicated to review for this blog. Thus I recommend that you read Homage to Catalonia by George Orwell and The Spanish Civil War by Paul Preston among others. The important factors in the war were the following: the Soviet revolution of 1917, the anarcho-communists that dominated the defense of the Spanish Republic, and the natural fascist proclivities (see this, this, and this) of the capitalist ruling classes of Western countries.

Thursday, March 31, 2016

Governments Admit that Much of Modern History Has Been Manipulated By False Flag Attacks

Click here to access article from Washington's Blog.

Pay attention, class! I know that you have always been taught to obey and believe the authority figures in government, schools, corporate media, and other institutions. But since you have all grown into adults, it's time to relieve yourself of their fairy tales because it is urgent that you know the truth if you are to protect yourselves from being misused and abused by powerful people for their benefit rather than yours. 

Today's lesson is about false flags. False flag events have been used by ruling classes throughout history to start wars, establish restrictions on civil rights, to destabilize countries, to engage in regime change, and to justify other hostile actions against societies, both foreign and domestic. 

Ruling classes in control of governments are really little more than highly organized gangs that often engage in many kinds of criminal activities, and they do this by using deceptions to fool ordinary people so that people like yourselves can be enlisted to help them in their various schemes.  The existing ruling class are capitalists who are especially attracted to criminal activities that will increase their power over you and others so that they can steal resources and part of the wealth that you create and turn them into profits for themselves. 

Today's assignment is to read this article and to learn the history of ruling classes and how they have used this method of false flag events as one form of deception to increase their dominance over their own societies as well as gaining control over people in foreign lands to gain control of their wealth and power.

How The U.S. Continues To Arm al-Qaeda

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

Bernhard has found two very credible pieces of evidence to support the headline.

Wednesday, March 30, 2016

Could an economic collapse be in our near future?

Click here to access article by Pete Dolack from Systemic Disorder.

Dolack features some recent research by climate scientists that dovetail astonishingly well with the forecasts contained in the 1972 book The Limits to Growth which received much criticism at the time even from people on the left.

While one climate scientist referred vaguely to "powerful societal forces" as inhibiting serious solutions to the climate crisis, Dolack becomes much more clarifyingly specific:
...those “powerful societal forces” [are] the biggest industrialists and financiers in the world capitalist system. As long as we have an economic system that allows private capital to accumulate without limit on a finite planet, and externalize the costs, in a system that requires endless growth, there is no real prospect of making the drastic changes necessary to head off a very painful future.

Just because a study was conducted decades in the past does not mean we can’t learn from it. If we reach still further back in time, Rosa Luxemburg’s words haunt us still: Socialism or barbarism.

Obama of Arabia

Click here to access article by Kristen Breitweiser and other 9/11 widows Patty Casazza, Monica Gabrielle, Mindy Kleinberg, and Lorie Van Auken also sign their name to this blog which is posted on Huffington Post.

Breiweiser expresses the bewilderment experienced by so many 9/11 victims about their government's opposition to their desire for a complete inquiry to one of the most infamous crimes committed against citizens of this country. There is already considerable evidence that Saudi Arabian authorities (along with others) have sponsored terrorist groups, but yet our government acts as if they were our best friends. After expressing her bewilderment in the form of many questions, she finally offers an explanation. 

The problem I have with her explanation is that it doesn't go far enough. It doesn't target the underlying reason for the government's disloyal conduct or, one could justifiably say, their treasonous conduct. By omitting these fundamental reasons, a solution will never by effected. The fundamental reasons, which her more superficial reasons point to, are related to class rule. 

The ruling capitalist class in this country are in collusion with the ruling medieval class of Saudi Arabia to accumulate power and wealth. They are very much like a criminal gang that collaborates with another criminal gang to commit bigger crimes. The author and the rest of the 9/11 families apparently still believe all the democratic mythology that is so pervasively spread throughout every institution of our nation. Until this misty veil of deceptions is removed and class rule is ended, we will continue to experience more bewildering incidents like 9/11.

Kerry’s Plan at Balkanising Syria: Balkanising Syria is Not Plan B, it's Plan A

Click here to access article by Maram Susli also known as “Syrian Girl” from New Eastern Outlook.
Last month, US secretary of State John Kerry called for Syria to be partitioned saying it was “Plan B” if negotiations fail.  But in reality this was always plan A. Plans to balkanize Syria, Iraq and other Middle Eastern states were laid out by former U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice in a 2006 trip to Tel Aviv. It was part of the so called “Project For a New Middle East”. This was a carbon copy of the Odid Yinon plan drawn up by Israel in 1982. The plan outlined the way in which Middle Eastern countries could be balkanized along sectarian lines. This would result in the creation of several weak landlocked micro-states that would be in perpetual war with each other and never united enough to resist Israeli expansionism. [my link]

The motive for the attacks in Paris and Brussels

Click here to access article by Thierry Meyssan from Voltaire Network

I normally do not post articles with so much speculative analysis that is based mostly on logic, but I am making an exception with this piece because Meyssan's speculations are so logical. They would explain a lot of mysterious happenings such as both the Russian and US support of the Syrian Kurds (for different reasons), Erdogan's seemly erratic actions, as well as the bombing incidents in Europe.

If true, his speculations would offer an excellent illustration of how various national elites commit monstrous crimes to further their interests of power and wealth. Such ruling class crimes (see also my commentary for "Obama of Arabia") have frequently occurred during the past 10 thousand years and will continue until we rid ourselves of the scourge of class rule, or until we finally kill each other in a nuclear conflagration and/or destroy the Earth's habitat that is capable of supporting human life. 

Are we, the 99.9% of the world's population, going to sit idly by watching ruling classes commit one terrible crime after another, or are we going to be activists fighting for our very survival by ending class rule? Yes, it is risky business to oppose ruling classes. They can really kill you or members of your family or make your family's life miserable. (I was threatened with being run off the road one late night and then followed to my home--it was clearly a death threat.) But think of the above alternatives if we remain passive. We can reduce the individual risks of revolution and vastly increase our power by organizing our opposition and being informed. 

What does the Brazilian crisis teach us?

Click here to access article by Olmedo Beluche from Workers World

This Panamanian sociologist and political activist gives us what appears to be the real scoop on what is happening in Brazil with the right-wing attacks on the Rousseff government and the PT party. I think it is an excellent illustration of the vulnerability of left-wing governments to opposition organized by ruling capitalist classes. This is also happening in Venezuela and Argentina.

I agree with the author's conclusion:
The Latin American experience in general and the Brazilian in particular show that the only way to save progressive political processes from the attacks of the right wing and imperialism is not by trying to negotiate and give in to their demands, but by convening popular mobilization and taking more radical socialist measures.
(You might also be interested in what is happening to counter the right-wing resurgence in other countries of South America covered in this piece entitled "Latin America Briefs".)

Tuesday, March 29, 2016

Surviving on the Battlefield in the Information War [a must-read]

Click here to access article by Tony Cartalucci from New Eastern Outlook.
The truth is hard to arrive at, not only because people intentionally seek to fool others, but because often, many unintentionally fool themselves. Reality can be unpleasant. Watching a nation be destroyed can be heartbreaking and the desire to insulate oneself from the pain through cognitive dissonance can be overwhelming. However, one of the greatest maxims in human conflict is to truly know yourself and know your enemy. Truth isn't just a matter of virtue, it is a factor that will make the difference between victory and defeat.

If victory over the forces of greed and hegemony is truly our goal, then we must face the facts no matter how unpleasant. Our failure to do so will cost us everything - and those driven by greed and hegemony know. That is why they have invested so much in clouding reality and obfuscating the truth. We must invest more in seeing through this clouded reality, and discover the truth, no matter how unpleasant.
It is clear to me that Cartalucci is one of the world's top truth-seekers. In this article he shares with us how we too can become a more proficient truth-seeker, and why it is so important in our struggle to create social justice in the capitalist class dominated societies that exist today. In our present era of capitalist rule, lying in addition to weaponry has become very advanced. We must be prepared to fight their lies with the truth, and Cartalucci gives us some important advice on how to do this.

Class oppressors must always lie as another means of maintaining their dominance.  If we are to survive as humans, we simply must end the practice of class-structured societies that have existed for the last 2% of human history. If we fail to accomplish this and fail to learn how to live in peace with each other and sustainably with nature--because we are a (very small) part of nature--we humans will surely disappear from Mother-Earth.

How Billionaires Use Non-Profits to Bypass Governments and Force Their Agendas on Humanity

Click here to access article by Sarah Lazare from AlterNet
As wealth becomes concentrated in fewer and fewer hands, the billionaire class is increasingly turning to foundations and non-profits to enact the change they would like to see in the world. Amid the rise of philanthrocapitalism, growing numbers of critics are raising serious questions about whether this outsized influence is doing more harm than good.
Of course it's doing much more harm than good! Billionaires only do good when it is in their interest to "do good". Unless you believe what is good for billionaires is good for us ordinary people, then you must conclude that their "do-gooding" is really doing good for themselves. Surely Lazare hasn't forgotten the capitalist credo (as expressed by Margaret Thatcher) which says:
...there is no such thing as society. There are individual men and women, and there are families. .... It's our duty to look after ourselves....
NGOs (non-profit organizations in foreign countries are typically referred to as "NGOs or non-governmental organizations) have been used abroad to organize movements to destabilize and change the regimes of countries that the Empire doesn't like (think of all the "color revolutions" or Ukraine), whereas in this country the capitalist directorate uses them to lobby Congress and to attack targets that get in the way of their interests by using litigation. For an example of the latter, see this. Foundations are often used to filter money through to media that promote their interests or to corrupt alternative media. Regarding the latter, read this.

Trump and Clinton: Censoring the Unpalatable

Click here to access article by John Pilger from CounterPunch. (Note: With this post I am departing from my usual practice of posting articles from their original websites. This is because the post on CounterPunch is much more readable than Pilger's website.)
A virulent if familiar censorship is about to descend on the US election campaign. As the cartoon brute, Donald Trump, seems almost certain to win the Republican Party’s nomination, Hillary Clinton is being ordained both as the “women’s candidate” and the champion of American liberalism in its heroic struggle with the Evil One.

This is drivel, of course; Hillary Clinton leaves a trail of blood and suffering around the world and a clear record of exploitation and greed in her own country. To say so, however, is becoming intolerable in the land of free speech.

The 2008 presidential campaign of Barack Obama should have alerted even the most dewy-eyed. 
Yes, it should have, but the naive American public always falls for these lies every presidential election, and that is why our masters keep using the same deceptions--it works every time.

He then goes on to disclose his censorship experience with the liberal TruthOut's website. Following Cartalucci's advice, I took about 30 minutes this morning to ascertain the funding of TruthOut, and I found that their top contributors have donated substantial amounts to Democratic Party candidates. (See this on page 28 [corrected on 3/30/2016], this, and this.)
The “editorial committee” clearly wanted me to water down my argument that Clinton represented a proven extreme danger to the world.  Like all censorship, this was unacceptable. Maya Schenwar, who runs Truthout, wrote to me that my unwillingness to submit my work to a “process of revision” meant she had to take it off her “publication docket”.  Such is the gatekeeper’s way with words. 

Coke or Pepsi? The Choice Between Pro-War Candidates

Click here to access article by Cindy Sheehan from TeleSur

This anti-establishment activist offers her views on the elections based on personal experience participating in them. She reaches this conclusion:
...the U.S. is obviously not a democracy, but a corporatocracy and only grassroots social and political activism that stands firmly, confidently, courageously, and honestly outside of the system can defeat it. Trying to defeat the Empire from the inside is like trying to put out a forest fire by pouring gasoline on it. 

Monday, March 28, 2016

Workers Control in Venezuela and Beyond: An Interview with Dario Azzelini

Click here to access article posted on LeftEast by Marko Miletic about his interview with Azzelini. The article includes a 34:21m film made by Azzelini and an associate that takes us into one worker-run factory in Italy to learn how workers manage their enterprise.

With the daily neoliberal assaults on workers all over the world, we sometimes forget about the operations of enterprises that workers have created in narrow spaces of the capitalist world. Then, too, these receive very little publicity probably because the workers are too busy and the capitalist world does not want us to know about their activities. The participants in this interview are two activists that are very much involved with worker enterprises, and they share their valuable experience and insightful ideas with us. 

The interviewer Marko Miletic

Marko Miletić is a political activist from Belgrade, Serbia. He is member of Kontekst collective, and Social Center October. He is member of editorial board of portal masina.rs.

Dario Azzelini

Dario Azzellini is assistant professor for sociology at the Johannes Kepler University Linz, Austria, writer and documentary director. He holds a PhD in political science and a PhD in sociology. His research and writing focuses on democracy, social movements, self-management, popular power, migration and racism. Azzellini published several books, essays and documentaries.

Dario Azzelini is a theoretician and political activist splitting time between Berlin and Caracas. He recently stayed in Belgrade to participate in the conference “Let’s bring socialism back into the game“. That gave us an opportunity to talk about different topics he addresses in his work – ranging from the question of Maduro’s election loss, the interrelation of art and politics, to cases of recuperations of workers’ factories throughout Europe.


The Paradox of Individualism Part 2

Click here to access article by Dennis Loo from his blog.

Loo attacks the a fundamental credo of individualism that supports capitalist ideology well illustrated in Margaret Thatcher's infamous quote:
...there is no such thing as society. There are individual men and women, and there are families. .... It's our duty to look after ourselves and then, also to look after our neighbour. [She probably added the last clause because she was worried about what her neighbors might think.]

There's a 'Special Place in Hell' for Madeleine Albright [and Hillary]

Click here to access article by Kurt Nimmo from InfoWars.

There are plenty of US war criminals; but to the people who proclaim that it would be wonderful to have a woman as president, I offer this piece to show that war-mongering comes with no sexual identity. Being a person who is inclined to war-mongering and illegally acquiring a fortune, Hillary Clinton is another war criminal type who would be a perfect candidate to serve the Empire's ruling predatory class of capitalists. If you're not convinced after reading this article, then read this, this, and this

Many of my fellow Americans are glued to their TV sets and fascinated by what they think are "democratic" election results and getting caught up in all the drama that corporate media can muster. Hillary, of course, will "win" the presidency simply because she was selected as a woman candidate who would appeal to women and others who wish to deny their anti-women prejudices.

They performed the same ruse in 2008 by giving Americans the chance to prove their non-racism by voting for Barack Obama. Because he was raised mostly by his white banker grandmother and educated at elite schools, he was thoroughly indoctrinated in capitalist values and became a perfect puppet president to serve the ruling capitalist class. This illustrates how clever our ruling class directorate are with their applications of inverted racism and sexism to manipulate the social identity politics of Americans. (Class politics is taboo in the US. Should one be foolish enough to try to engage most of them in a class analysis of any given issue, they will look at you like you were from another planet.)

What most naive Americans fail to understand is that these elections are all smoke and mirrors designed to hide the fact that it really doesn't matter who becomes president because that person will either serve the ruling class directorate or they will be removed from office one way or another. However the directorate wants someone in office who they know will perform their public relations duties well and follow their orders. They long ago decided that Hillary was that person and have been grooming her for that job ever since.

Capitalism's Crisis and the Betrayal of A Generation

Click here to access article by Danny Haiphong from Global Independent Analytics
No other cohort has felt the wrath of capitalist crisis more than youth in the US. Finance capital has leveled over a trillion dollars of debt on the shoulders of students. The US has the highest rate of child poverty in capitalist countries. Youth joblessness stands at 10.5 percent nationally. This number doubles for Black and Latino youth in the US. The jobs that do exist are in low-wage sectors. The stranglehold of finance capital over housing, education, and healthcare has created a perfect storm where people under thirty in the US are now poorer than those who have retired.

It should come as no surprise, then, that young people in the US see themselves as working class rather than the often trumpeted term "middle class."

Brussels attacks: New European reality, old tired response

Click here to access article by Danielle Ryan by Global Independent Analytics
There is no justification for the violence we saw in Brussels and Paris. There will be no justification for it when it hits the next European city — and it will. Equally, there is no justification for the violence that Western nations led into hell by Washington have inflicted on other nations. It’s our inability to see that which lies at the root of the problem.

The EU must stay united. NATO must be expanded. Russia must be contained. Regime change is the only option for *insert country of choice*. Just keep playing those phrases on repeat until all ability to question or think for yourself is truly drained.

They want you to cry, change your profile picture to a Belgian flag, allow them to maintain the status quo and then act surprised when it happens again.

It’s well past time to stop letting them.

Sunday, March 27, 2016

Exposed: Plans to Balkanise #Syria

Click here if you wish to access the 14:21m video directly from YouTube

I think SyrianGirl and the Syrian soldier she interviews place too much emphasis on nationalism and the sanctity of the state concept by attacking the federalism that is advocated by Syrian Kurds. On the other hand, the Empire and its allies like to use religious sectarianism to break up states to make them weaker and more easily dominated. Michael Jansen also sees federalism as simply a ploy backed by the Empire to divide and conquer regions of the world. 

History reveals that states have been created on the ruins of the old feudal system when kingdoms were established through violence after the Roman Empire disintegrated. The capitalist class took over control of these regions which were integrated into states that we see today. Imperialist capitalists have also used the divide and conquer strategy in many parts of the world to establish new states, particularly in the Middle East, to break up nations that posed threats to their control or to their access to resources. Thus states can be regarded as a creation of the capitalist class. It is interesting that now under neoliberalism that the US-led Empire is trying to reduce the power of all states in favor of the transnational rule of the Empire.

I think there is another position of federalization that can be argued as a progressive development: the breakup of states on the basis of natural bio-regions. Also there are various degrees of federation that can be used to decentralize power and to promote more grassroots participation in decision-making which is what the Syrian Kurds have been thinking based on the influence by progressive thinkers like the American Murray Bookchin and Kurdish Abdullah Öcalan and the concepts related to Libertarian Municipalism (see this, this, and this). SyrianGirl, Jansen, and others simply don't understand some of the progressive ideas of the Syrian Kurds. But it may also be true that the Kurds don't understand that they are being deliberately led by US agents down the path of national independence for a Kurdish state which would facilitate the breakup of Syria, the Empire's "Plan B".

On the other hand, I think it is a bit dangerous to experiment with such ideas of decentralization while the Empire goes about breaking up states for their purposes of world domination. It is the Empire, and particularly the US that needs broken up, and this likely should be accomplished first before other states do it.

I perused a Kurdish website this morning and found more evidence that the US is supporting and courting the Kurdish desire for greater independence. The fact that this article was re-posted to a Kurdish website suggests some naivete among the Kurds. To agents of the US Empire this, of course, means balkanization of Syria . And I just found a post that indicates that the Syrian Kurds have declared themselves to be a "federation". But the details of what they mean by federation are missing.

A Crisis With No Capitalist Way Out

Click here to access this book review by Ron Jacobs from CounterPunch.

Jacobs reviews a new book by John Smith (I wonder if this is a real name or a pseudonym) entitled Imperialism in the Twenty-First Century.
The world is in crisis.  Capitalism, currently the only economic system in existence, is the cause of this crisis.  It is a crisis that impoverishes millions more every year while enhancing the wealth of the rarefied few who conspire with politicians to make it so.  It is a crisis that manifests itself in endless and meaningless wars.  It is a crisis that dismantles schools, hospitals, roads, and other infrastructure in the name of private profit.  Most ominously, it is a crisis which diminishes the health of the earth’s ecosystem, undoing an already fragile environment in order to squeeze meaningless dollars from that which gives all earthly species life.

This is the premise of John Smith’s newly-published work....