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 16, 2016

Saudi Arabia Threatens To Liquidate Its Treasury Holdings If Congress Probes Its Role In Sept 11 Attacks

Click here to access article by Tyler Durden from Zero Hedge

Who knows what is really going on behind the scenes of this threat to unload US Treasury bills, but what has been revealed by many independent investigators of 9/11 suggest that Durden's concluding question is really not the most important one:
...why the Saudi panic, and why immediately threaten with the "nuclear option", namely liquidating US Treasurys, if the Saudis have nothing to hide?
Many of these independent investigations have turned up evidence that suggests that 9/11 was a joint project of the CIA together with secret agents mainly in Israel, Saudi Arabia, and Pakistan. Durden along with the NY Times points only their fingers at the Saudis. This I think offers a convenient distraction from other more important culprits, many of which are within the US. Thus, I think that the big question remaining is this:
[why has the] "Obama [administration] been lobbying so intently against the bill that some lawmakers and families of Sept. 11 victims are infuriated [?]
It will be interesting to see how this contest between the highly motivated 9/11 family victims and Congress plays out. Even though I have no doubt that the censored 28 pages contain anything about the role of the CIA and Israel in this great tragedy, there is one thing that I am thoroughly confident about: there is so much more a than just Saudi Arabia's role and their monetary retaliation in this huge can of worms that will prevent the Congressional bill from ever passing. 

There is also the huge threat that the Saudi officials will point their fingers at the CIA and Israel. The NY Times is once again providing cover for the real agents behind the 9/11 event which provided the necessary excuse ("a new Peal Harbor" referred to on page 51 in the neoconservative publication entitled "Rebuilding America's Defenses" ) for the launching of many wars in the Middle East and the establishment of police state features here within the US.

Trans Pacific Partnership

by Khalil Bendib from his website

Friday, April 15, 2016

“Capitalism is the legitimate racket of the ruling class”

Click here to access article by David Ruccio from Real-World Economics Review Blog.
No, that’s not the democratic socialist candidate for the Democratic nomination. It was actually Al Capone who once said that “Capitalism is the legitimate racket of the ruling class.”
Capitalism has a lot in common with organized crime because of its tendency to rob and murder others to gain wealth and power. The main differences between them is contained in the title quote above, that is, that capitalists have not only gained dominance over their societies by stealth, murder, and robbery; but have also gone on to establish many other institutions to provide legitimacy for them. This is especially true in their legal system where laws are made and enforced to give them the right to steal the fruits of working people and where the enforcement of their laws is done deferentially based on social class; their ownership and control of media is used to present news coverage that justify their rule and behavior; the educational system is used to instill capitalist values into unsuspecting, innocent children; and the entertainment industry is used to distract, entertain, and reaffirm their values. Capitalists make considerable use of deception in all these institutions. These efforts give this dominant class a certain veneer of respectability and legitimacy which organized crime doesn't bother with. 

There is a blurring of lines between organized crime and the institutions of "legitimate" institutions. They both share the same basic anti-social proclivities and they often collaborate when it is to their mutual advantage. Most often this collaboration can be found in drug and arms trafficking, and was dramatically evident in the assassination of John Kennedy in which many independent investigators turned up evidence of organized crime involvement. One sees collaboration most frequently in business and entertainment where members of both camps cooperate in plundering activities, and members easily cross over from one camp to the other. (Read The Money and the Power by Denton and Morris, Double Cross by the Giancana brothers, and Gangster Capitalism by Woodiwiss--in that order.) Capitalism is a perfect system for sociopaths--both capitalist and criminal types.

Safety Nets

by Khalil Bendib from Other Words.

Wall Streeters land just fine, but kids in dire poverty slip right through.

Thursday, April 14, 2016

Smoke & Fumes

Click here to access article from Center for International Environmental Law (CIEL).

This is a major contribution to an understanding of the insidious role played by the fossil fuel industry starting in 1946 to suppress information about the threat their industry posed for a stable climate. The report is based on solid research which is well documented.
In late 1946, as public concern and media scrutiny mounted, executives from the Western Oil and Gas Association met in Los Angeles to consider a response. They emerged with a plan—and a Committee. Comprised of executives from leading oil companies (including Union Oil, Standard Oil of California (both now part of Chevron), Esso (now ExxonMobil), and Shell), the newly-created Smoke and Fumes Committee would fund scientific research into smog and other air pollution issues and, significantly, use that research to inform and shape public opinion about environmental issues. The express goal of their collaboration was to use science and public skepticism to prevent environmental regulations they deemed hasty, costly, and unnecessary.
The following 3:51m video provides an excellent introduction to the report which is concise and very readable.

This is a story about how the world’s most powerful industry used science, communications, and consumer psychology to shape the public debate over climate change. And it begins earlier—decades earlier—than anyone suspected.
The essential lesson to be learned from this report is that when an economic system is established to serve the profit interests of its private owners, profits will always trump the interests of the public, indeed as this report illustrates, even the very survival of humans. It must be understood that the accumulation of wealth and the control of jobs provides people known as capitalists with tremendous power over us and our society. The greater the concentration of wealth in this tiny segment of the population, the greater the power they exert over every institution of our society. This drug of power is extremely addictive, and over several centuries has created a monster capitalist class and a world Empire that threatens to kill us all if we allow it to continue. 

Wednesday, April 13, 2016

Socialist Senator Explains the Difference Between Democrats and Republicans

Click here to access article by Mike Whitney from CounterPunch

No, Whitney is not referring to Bernie Sanders. He is referring to Huey Long who was governor of Louisiana and then US senator back in the early 1930s. Long thought he could fight and win against major corporations. Well, he won some minor skirmishes, but his character was severely attacked by the press media of that time, and in the end he was literally assassinated. Whitney draws a very limited lesson from his history to conclude that all we need today is another candidate like Long!
This is exactly what the country needs, a brassy-brawling chest-thumping populist who likes a good slugfest and doesn’t mind stretching the rules a bit when necessary. And if he happens to have some less-than-admirable human frailties, then so be it.
I simply don't understand Whitney and other such critics of the status quo. Surely he knows the sordid history of corporate takeover of all political institutions in the US since the 1930s. This history has led the US to what it is today: a capitalist Empire governed by a hidden "deep state" of financial, industrial, and military directors that control everything behind a facade of a democratic government staffed by their loyal employees. Surely he knows this! He has certainly written a number of articles describing it.

So, why does he write such articles as this one? Is it because he, like so many others, has also learned the real lesson of the Huey Longs of American history: that you can't fight and win against them in their system? Is it that he, too, has decided to play it safe because he fears the powers of the deep state to destroy people who fight against their system?

What we really need today are revolutionary-minded people who are willing to risk all and join together to end the ownership and control of our economy, country, and much of the world by capitalists.

The West's Terrorist "Catch and Release" Program

Click here to access article by Tony Cartalucci from New Eastern Outlook.
For fisheries around the world, the concept of “catch and release” allows anglers to enjoy the fishing experience while preserving the numbers and health of fish populations. The concept of “catch and release” for Western security and intelligence agencies appears very similar – to maintain the illusion of counterterrorism operations, while maintaining the numbers and health of terrorist organizations around the world.
But, you say, "why would they do that?" Come on! Think about it! How much longer are you going to let them make a fool of you? You know, or should know, that the "War on Drugs" was not really a war on drugs. We now have more drug problems and trafficking than ever before. Well the "War on Terrorism" is not about a war on terrorism-- whatever that means. Cartalucci supplies some real answers.

Consensus on Consensus: Expertise Matters in Agreement Over Human-Caused Climate Change

Click here to access article by Allison Mills from Michigan Tech News. (A similar report was also published in The Guardian.)

This is a report of a major study published in Environmental Research Letters, a science publication of the IOP (Institute of Physics).
A research team confirms that 97 percent of climate scientists agree that climate change is caused by humans. The group includes Sarah Green, a chemistry professor at Michigan Technological University. "What's important is that this is not just one study--it's the consensus of multiple studies," Green says. This consistency across studies contrasts with the language used by climate change doubters. This perspective stems from, as the authors write, "conflating the opinions of non-experts with experts and assuming that lack of affirmation equals dissent."
This seems like belated news since most of the voices challenging man-made climate destabilization have already been quieted. I think that this was a result not of a scientific study, but of the increasing occurrence of very extreme weather events. I think that Hurricane Sandy that hit the center of the Empire in 2012 was the most important single weather event that caused the "denialists" to shut up and ordinary people to believe what scientists had been telling them for several decades. 

Thus, nowadays we don't hear so much about the denial of climate destabilization. Instead, what we hear from TV talking heads employed by capitalists, whose system is causing this crisis, are reassuring myths about how they have geoengineering fixes to prevent any serious problems; and besides, the worst effects won't happen for another century. So, why worry? We are taking care of it. Just go shopping.


by Khalil Bendib from Other Words.

Tuesday, April 12, 2016

Ruling Class Games and Qualifications: on and Beyond the Bernie-Hillary Spat

Click here to access article by Paul Street from CounterPunch

I like to ignore the foreground of American style "politics" in order to focus on the politics of the "deep state" where the action really is. But in this piece Street takes ordinary Americans by the hand and leads them from their quadrennial habit of becoming interested in presidential elections to an understanding of how professionally managed these events are. The purpose of these election circuses are to distract us from any real understanding of the hidden deep state or the politics of the real "deciders". On the way in this journey to real politics, Street offers a number of insightful gems such as the following:
One Democrat at a top Wall Street firm even told Politico that Hillary’s politically unavoidable populist rhetoric was “a Rorschach test for how politically sophisticated [rich] people are…If someone is upset by this it’s because they have no idea how populist the mood of the country still is. The fact is, if she didn’t say this stuff now she would be open to massive attacks from the left, and would have to say even more dramatic stuff later.”

These reflections from “liberal” elites atop the “unelected dictatorship” speak volumes about the nation’s descent into abject plutocracy and the limits of progressive change permitted under elections and through parties subject to “the hidden primary of the ruling class.” 
If you would like to understand the origins of the management of popular politics, you need an understanding of the real history of politics in America. I have found such an article. It's quite lengthy, but it really covers the origins of the transformation of something that passed somewhat as real politics in America (1934) to what it is today: a controlled and professionally managed election process to select puppet-people to offices that will serve the real deciders in the ruling capitalist class. The article is entitled "The Lie Factory" by Jill Lepore from The New Yorker. In this piece you will learn about Clem Whitaker, the owner of the first political consultant/management firm in the 1930s. Here he expresses his cynical ruling class view of ordinary Americans:
“The average American doesn’t want to be educated; he doesn’t want to improve his mind; he doesn’t even want to work, consciously, at being a good citizen,” Whitaker advised. “But there are two ways you can interest him in a campaign, and only two that we have ever found successful.” You can put on a fight (“he likes a good hot battle, with no punches pulled”), or you can put on a show (“he likes the movies; he likes mysteries; he likes fireworks and parades”): “So if you can’t fight, PUT ON A SHOW! And if you put on a good show, Mr. and Mrs. America will turn out to see it.” 

Terror Profits — Arms Makers Rejoice As American Bombs Drop Faster Than They Can Make Them

Click here to access article by Claire Bernish from Mint Press News.
According to a recent report from Reuters, American cities are rejoicing over the new windfall, job creation and the economic benefits associated with increased bomb production.

.... It is also important to note that the money used to finance these weapons manufacturers is taken from the public via taxation, or deferred to our children’s children through Federal Reserve debt. As the threat of World War III looms across the planet, the American taxpayers are being fleeced to build the weapons with which this world war will be carried out.

Considering the military-industrial machine always finds a way to profit from killing people, it’s likely the bomb shortage won’t be long-lived.

The West’s Terrorist “Catch and Release” Program

Click here to access article by Tony Cartalucci from New Eastern Outlook.
For fisheries around the world, the concept of “catch and release” allows anglers to enjoy the fishing experience while preserving the numbers and health of fish populations. The concept of “catch and release” for Western security and intelligence agencies appears very similar – to maintain the illusion of counterterrorism operations, while maintaining the numbers and health of terrorist organizations around the world.

Capitalism: A Bleak Outlook

Click here if you wish to access the cartoon by Maram Heshan directly from Cartoon Movement
'When the last tree is cut down, the last fish eaten and the last stream poisoned, you will realize that you cannot eat money.' 

Monday, April 11, 2016

Monsanto's Willing Executioners

Click here to access article by JP Sottile from TruthOut. (Minor revisions made up till 7:30 AM Seattle time on 4/12/2016)

I have already established the fact that TruthOut has large Democratic Party funders (see my commentary at this post) who act like a Mephistopheles on the people who run this website. According the the Faust legend, when you make a pact with the devil (in this case people committed to capitalism), you bargain for more time to seek knowledge and power in exchange for your soul. With this post and similar ones TruthOut makes an effort to redeem its pact with the devil. Whether they can, unlike the legend, continue to do so and ultimately outwit the capitalist devil is for the future to reveal. (I extremely doubt it.)

Anyway, this piece is a major contribution to an understanding of how Monsanto has succeeded in selling so much poison that has been spread over much of our Mother Earth, and continues to in spite of popular opposition. 

We should not be surprised that when power and profits are at stake, corporations always win in any contest with the capitalist version of democracy. 

This piece has got me thinking. Staying with the metaphor of the Faust legend, one might think of the capitalist version of democracy as also a pact with the devil made by people several centuries ago when they joined the capitalist class to help them overthrow the rule of the existing ruling class--the monarchies and aristocracies of the feudal era. The capitalists seduced the peasants and workers (artisans and craftsmen) into supporting them with promises of all kinds of freedoms that became the capitalist ideology of liberalism. In reality the core concepts emphasized the equivalence of liberty with the rights of property and individualism. (This classic view of liberalism should not be confused with the revisionist form as used today with its emphasis on a mixed economy and the equality of social identities.) This was essentially a pact made between the rising capitalist class in the 17th and 18th centuries and the rest of humanity in the Western world.

Much of this ideology of freedom was stolen from Age of Enlightenment philosophers who challenged the many superstitions in the feudal era based on the developments of scientific inquiry and the subsequent discoveries by the early scientists of our natural world. (Notice that this is much like corporations today such as Monsanto that appropriate the scientific method to create antisocial products to enrich themselves instead of satisfying real social needs.) To conform to their interests, this new capitalist ruling class as they came to power made a revolutionary transformation of all institutions to conform to their interests. This was especially true of the underlying ideology of Western societies which they transformed into one that was much more compatible with their rule: the worldview of Romanticism which emphasized the heroic role of individuals (capitalists). 

I think that in this contemporary period, in which capitalism has spread throughout the world, we are seeing a day of reckoning for making this making this pact with the capitalist devil. We are seeing interminable wars and its effects (social chaos and the rise of terrorist armies), destabilization of the climate which threatens human habitat, the decline of living standards for most humans along with the enrichment of a tiny class, the rise of police state features (24/7 surveillance, militarized police forces, suspensions of civil liberties, etc.), and the ever present threat of a nuclear war conflagration between capitalist countries. It has now become questionable whether humans can survive even another century.

Capitalism And Global Agribusiness: From Ford To Monsanto, It's For Your Own Good

Click here to access article by Colin Todhunter from East by Northwest.
Global agribusiness is threatening food security and food sovereignty. It has been able to capture government regulatory/policy agendas, important trade deals and global trade policies. Monsanto itself is a major player and wields enormous influence and receives significant political support. That company has a history of knowingly contaminating the environment and food with various harmful substances and engaging in cover ups and criminality.

In recent times, much resistance to the power of agribusiness has centred on seed patenting, the deleterious impacts of glyphosate-based herbicide and the dangers that GMOs pose to human and animal health and the environment.

The Future

Click here if you wish to access this directly from Stephanie McMillan's website.

Alone We Are Weak

Sunday, April 10, 2016

Who’s in Charge? The Power Structure and Foreign Policy

Click here to access this book review by Martin Oppenheimer from New Politics.
Wall Street’s Think Tank: The Council on Foreign Relations and the Empire of Neoliberal Geopolitics 1975-2014
By: Laurence H. Shoup
Monthly Review Press, 2015. 400 pp. Hardcover, $34, $36 Can.
In books like this, one can learn who really runs our government and in whose interests these "deciders" really serve. In short, one can learn about the "deep state" that pulls the strings of government puppets. Or would you rather be distracted by following websites that cover what's happening with the puppets?
The CFR was founded immediately after World War I and “has been pursuing a world-spanning hegemonic project” that is promoted through a foreign policy “suitable to the U.S. capitalist class” since that time (10-11). Shoup tells us that the consequences of this “neoliberal geopolitical empire” has been “the destruction of unions and working class communities, privatization, speculation, grotesque economic inequality, ecological destruction, and … war and conquest”. This is quite an indictment; the book is a carefully documented effort, largely successful, to provide the evidence for that description.

Nuclear industry reveals its unsolved problem: waste

Click here to access article by Gordon MacKerron from Ecologist

The author deconstructs an announcement to find the real reasons behind the shipment of a large quantity of nuclear waste (it appears that most of it is from Britain's nuclear power plants) to the US allegedly because of terrorist considerations.  
The announcement draws new attention to an old issue: how to find a long-term solution to nuclear waste. Countries with atomic weapons or civilian nuclear power have been wrestling with this for several decades. This is partly because the problem was neglected for years, but more fundamentally because governments have failed to develop a strategy acceptable to the communities affected.
This reflects the uniqueness of the problem, of course - we are talking about substances which could harm human health for tens of thousands of years into the future. It raises profound ethical issues of equity between generations.

The scientific community does in fact agree on how to dispose of these materials safely: deep underground in appropriate geology such as clay or granite, with well engineered radiation barriers as an extra defence. Yet only Sweden and Finland, with political systems built on more trust and consensus than most countries, have a clear repository plan - and it will be several years before they become operational.