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 LappĂ©, excerpt from Time for Progressives to Grow Up

Saturday, August 13, 2016

Rethinking The Cold War and the new one

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

Roberts never ceases to amaze me. This former Assistant Secretary of the Treasury in the Reagan administration can pack more profound truths in one article than I have ever seen done by any another informed political observer. Most profound and disturbing of all is his observation that a nuclear war is much more likely now than in the earlier Cold War--and I think he is right. 

His only failing is that he argues that a "handful" of individuals--instead of an entire economic system--are responsible for the crimes of the Empire. It is the system that serves a capitalist class with so much wealth and power that is the driving force behind their aggressive policies and actions.

‘Politically Correct’ Rio Olympics Amid Anti-Russia Cold War Hysteria

Click here to access article by Finian Cunningham from Strategic Culture Foundation.
The Rio Olympics have...been turned into an anti-Russian morality play whose purpose is a base politicized objective.

The heavy-handed suppression of legitimate Brazilian protests against an unconstitutional would-be imposter-president – in the name of "keeping politics out of sports" – is absurdly conducted amidst an international spectacle of subverting the very same Olympic games into a Russia-bashing event.

Like bread and circuses of ancient Rome, we are expected to believe that the "great and good" are nobly entertaining the masses with sporting fun – with an event that has been thoroughly contaminated by toxic politics.

Rockefeller, Ford Foundations Behind World Social Forum (WSF). The Corporate Funding of Social Activism

Click here to access article by Michel Chossudovsky from Global Research.

The author has "outed" the World Social Forum. This is an excellent example of one primary method that the ruling class uses to control dissent: co-optation.
While  there have been many important accomplishments of the WSF, largely as a result of the commitment of grassroots activists, the core leadership of WSF  –rather than effectively confronting the New World Order elites– serves (often unwittingly) their corporate interests. In this process, co-optation has been achieved through the corporate funding of the WSF.

Revolution: there is no formula

Click here to access article by Stephanie McMillan from her website.
Capitalism, even in deep crisis, will never cease struggling to adapt and grow. It will not collapse or dismantle itself, until it destroys the planet and everyone on it. So it falls on us to destroy it. In destroying capitalism, we construct something new. Revolution is the total transformation of the way everything is produced, the social relations of domination that go along with it, and the ways of thinking that keep us trapped.

Friday, August 12, 2016

Cooperatives becoming bigger part of Cuba’s reforms

Click here to access article by Pete Dolack from Systemic Disorder

The Cuban government and the Cuban people are trying to find a path forward to make socialist principles work while facing the overwhelming power of their nearby capitalist neighbor. Many people in Cuba and elsewhere see cooperatives as a means to a better life both economically and politically. Other people in Cuba see threats that cooperatives operating in a market environment pose for socialist egalitarian, participatory principles. And as I recall, such threats posed problems in the former Yugoslavia. Anyway, Dolack explores these important issues by examining what is happening in Cuba.

It is my view that as long as capitalism exists in any advanced country, socialist experiments will have very difficult struggles even surviving much less defeating their arch enemies among capitalist countries. Capitalism in any advanced form means, and has always meant, the exploitation of workers by a tiny class of capitalists. Only a worldwide revolution against the capitalist system can create conditions for a decent, sustainable human existence.

What CIA Director Michael Hayden told President-Elect Barack Obama

Click here to access article from World Socialist Web Site.

This article furnishes more examples of evidence that, together with mountains of other evidence, prove the existence of a deep state that really controls US government policies behind a facade of an official government.

Exposing US-Funded "NGOs"

Click here to access article from The New Atlas (based in Bangkok, Thailand). 

The author(s) illustrate how an NGO supported by US funding has penetrated Myanmar's Ministry of Information via training of their staff. Then details are provided about another US-funded NGO media organization in nearby Thailand that is involved in political affairs and is in close contact with the US Embassy.

There are a number of foreign NGOs that provide non-political services to aid their host countries, but the US has been increasingly using them to subvert host countries to align with US foreign policy interests. This, of course, means aligning them with the neoliberal and hegemonic interests of the US-led Empire's capitalist class.

Host countries need to learn some basic lessons about NGOs:
To put it simply, any organisation or institution serves only the interests of those who support it. An NGO supported by local donations and volunteers serves its local community. A foreign-funded organisation posing as an NGO serves foreign interests.

And simpler still, an organisation funded by a foreign government cannot possibly be characterised as "nongovernmental." Even at face value, this notion strains credibility.

A Rush to Judgment on Russian Doping

Click here to access article by Rick Sterling from ConsortiumNews

Sterling reveals bias by key witnesses, lack of public disclosure of email evidence, and no independent corroboration of the opening of the test bottles by Russian authorities. With the banning of so many Russian athletes and accusations of Russian government illegal support for doping happening along with so many other Western propaganda attacks against Russia makes these allegations highly suspicious. 

So, let us meet Richard McClaren as he answered questions posed to him by RT, the Russian counterpart to PBS. (I've had considerable difficulty in sustaining access to RT. Don't know if the US is blocking this website or if there is some other problem. Anyway the link is here.)

Thursday, August 11, 2016

Is the Oil Industry Dying?

Click here to access article by Richard Heinberg from Pacific Standard.

I've been waiting quite a while to hear from one of the peak oil theorists to respond to the current oil glut and low prices. This article is an excellent response.
Money is effectively a marker for energy, and we can borrow and spend money now on costly energy with the promise that we will pay for it later (hence the massive build-up of debt in the oil industry). But if cheaper-to-produce energy and higher prices don’t emerge soon, those debts will eventually become transparently un-repayable. Hence what is inherently an energy crisis can appear to most observers to be a debt crisis.

The problem of eroding energy profitability is hard to deal with partly because the decline is happening so fast. If we had a couple of decades to prepare for falling thermodynamic efficiency, there are things we could do to soften the blow. That’s what the peak oil discussion was all about: It was an effort to warn society ahead of time. Once the dynamic of declining energy profitability really gets rolling, adaptation becomes much more difficult.

Russia’s Weakness Is Its Economic Policy — Paul Craig Roberts and Michael Hudson

Click here to access an article written by two well informed people on economic issues.

My only criticism of their views is that I don't think that the post Soviet Union's rulers were naive. On the contrary, they were sociopaths who were excited about all the opportunities that the collapse of the bureaucratic socialist regime provided them. In the confusion of the collapse they went to work to enrich themselves by selling off at bargain prices most of the publicly owned industries to themselves, their friends, and institutions regardless of who these individuals and institutions were and whose interests they ultimately served. (Read Sale of the Century by Chrystia Freeland.) 

And it seems clear from the observations of these two distinguished authors that the same sociopaths still hold key positions in the Russian government and are acting against Russian interests. President Putin, on the other hand, is a nationalist who has awakened to the threat that the Empire's neoliberal weapon poses for the independence of Russia. It was only when his independence-oriented government took over that Russia became an enemy to the Empire. Of course, this is true of any government that tries to pursue policies of independence separate from those of the hegemonic US-led Empire.
Apparently, Russia’s neoliberals are insensitive to the threat that Washington and its European vassals pose to the Russian state. On the basis of lies Washington has imposed economic sanctions on Russia. This political demonization is as fictitious as is the neoliberal economic propaganda.  On the basis of such lies, Washington is building up military forces and missile bases on Russia’s borders and in Russian waters.  Washington seeks to overthrow former Russian or Soviet provinces and install regimes hostile to Russia, as in Ukraine and Georgia.  Russia is continually demonized by Washington and NATO.  Washington even politicized the Olympic games and prevented the participation of many Russian athletes.

How climate change will sink China’s manufacturing heartland

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

The authors argue that conservative biases regarding the effects of climate change are glaring in studies done by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) and in the Chinese government policies of development both existing and planned. Thus the authors conclude:
It seems astounding that the Chinese government could oversee such a disaster-in-waiting as the rapid industrialisation of the Pearl River Delta. The PRD [key industrial zone] megacity looks like planned insanity. Developments are going ahead without any systematic reference to climate change impacts.

Will the PRD, when it is inundated too often, simply be abandoned after government policy has overseen the inward migration of up to 120 million people to the area by mid-century?

Perhaps then it will be said that China’s manufacturing heartland was sunk by a catastrophic failure of government planning and the failure to integrate known climate change impacts into economic and climate policy. 

Wednesday, August 10, 2016

Toward Democratic Eco-socialism as the Next World System

Click here to access article by Hans A. Baer from The New System Project.

In this somewhat lengthy essay, Baer, an anthropologist, argues for the necessity of an eco-socialist future. As such I believe it mixes a lot of reformist ideas, organizations, and personalities with more historical socialist writers to produce an academic and luke-warm version of a call for revolution. It is light on revolutionary strategies and rather heavy on future ideas about how we should live sustainably in a new system. 

For me the essay is more typical of an academic's call for revolution in that such calls are in the abstract while being very light on the immediate political strategies and tactics necessary to overthrow the existing system of capitalism. I think this is because of the upper-middle class nature of an academic. He/she is well rewarded within the capitalist supervised academic subsystem while requiring some ideological compromises to survive. As long as they confine themselves to abstract criticisms of capitalism while promoting idealistic ideas, they tend to be safe and secure in their careers. 

Perhaps I'm being a little unfair. You, as an independent thinking person, will have to decide for yourself.

WATCH: Julian Assange Suggests Murdered DNC Staffer Seth Rich, Was Source for WikiLeaks

Click here to access article by Matt Agorist from The Free Thought Project
While Clinton’s control over the mainstream press keeps these ominous details from the public, the suspicious deaths are undeniable. What they show us is that is indeed dangerous to portray Clinton in a negative light.

Canadian police “manufactured” terror plot to ensnare couple

Click here to access article by Roger Jordan from World Socialist Web Site

Here is another illustration of police enticement and entrapment that was exposed just over the border with Washington state in Vancouver, British Columbia.
In a damning judgment, British Columbia Supreme Court Justice Catherine Bruce ruled Friday that the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) broke the law and “manufactured” a terrorism plot as part of a months-long entrapment operation that ended in a Vancouver-area couple being arrested and ultimately sentenced to life in prison.

John Nuttall and Amanda Korody were arrested July 1, 2013 and accused of planting bombs on the grounds of the British Columbia legislature in Victoria.

But Justice Bruce found that the couple would never have taken any action had it not been for the active encouragement and coercion of undercover RCMP officers.

U.S. Health Care from a Global Perspective

Click here to access article by David Squires and Chloe Anderson from The Commonwealth Fund. 

Americans appear to be greater consumers of medical technology, including diagnostic imaging and pharmaceuticals.
The U.S. stood out as a top consumer of sophisticated diagnostic imaging technology. Americans had the highest per capita rates of MRI, computed tomography (CT), and positron emission tomography (PET) exams among the countries where data were available. The U.S. and Japan were among the countries with the highest number of these imaging machines.

In addition, Americans were top consumers of prescription drugs. Based on findings from the 2013 Commonwealth Fund International Surveys, adults in the U.S. and New Zealand on average take more prescription drugs (2.2 per adult) than adults in other countries.

Tuesday, August 9, 2016

'Spooked': How the CIA manipulates the media and hoodwinks Hollywood [Book review]

Click here to access this critical review by John Booth from Spinwatch.
Schou’s book is a good taster on an important subject. It deserves to sharpen appetites for more analysis of those who routinely mislead citizens who pay taxes and fork out for movies, newspapers, radio and TV.
(The review refers to "CND and the women at Greenham Common"--see this post for more information.)

Also for an interesting interview with the book's author, Nicholas Schou, I recommend a post which features the following 33:07m video (and transcript) of Schou discussing his book with Kevin Gosztola of Shadowproof

Democrats’ Tactic of Accusing Critics of Kremlin Allegiance Has Long, Ugly History in U.S.

Click here to access article by Glenn Greenwald from The Intercept.
A frequent weapon for Democrats in the 2016 election is to publicly malign those they regard as critics and adversaries as Russia sympathizers, Putin stooges, or outright agents of the Kremlin. To put it mildly, this is not a new tactic in U.S. political discourse, and it’s worth placing it in historical context. That’s particularly true given how many people have now been targeted with this attack.

"I Ran the CIA" Man Piles on Trump

Click here to access article by Philip Giraldi from The Unz Review.

This former CIA agent reports about the endorsement of Hillary Clinton by the former CIA Acting Director Michael Morell, and many details about his career.
Michael Morell is, in fact, a product of Washington groupthink and a major beneficiary of Establishment politics, the very tradition that Hillary Clinton represents. Many readers have no doubt seen his serious, somewhat intense gaze as a television expert on terrorism. His career trajectory depends on there being major threats to the United States and this requires him to be constantly searching for enemies. Morell has covered for Hillary in the past, most notably over Benghazi where he altered the talking points of his Congressional testimony to make CIA’s assessment closer to Clinton’s version of events. That he has attached himself to the Hillary Clinton campaign should surprise no one.

Science, Socialism and the Anthropocene

Click here to access a 41:33m audio recording of a talk by Ian Angus, an ecosocialist Canadian activist, from Climate & Capitalism.
Climate & Capitalism editor Ian Angus, recorded live at the Socialism 2016 conference, in Chicago, July 2, 2016

Monday, August 8, 2016

Scientific study reveals conspiracy theorists the most sane of all

Click here to access article by J. D. Heyes from Natural News.
'The research showed that people who favored the official account of 9/11 were generally more hostile'
From personal experience with leaving comments critical of conventional views expressed in mainstream internet sites, I have often experienced extremely hostile ridicule. It seems to me that people who do not question authorities are people who have abandoned any effort to think for themselves. They are like children who never grow up and come to a mature understanding that no one person's views of reality are correct all the time. Thus their egos are especially vulnerable to people who question conventional views, and as a result they lash out at those who question. This can be true for people on the political left--although usually for different reasons--as well as people on the right. For such people the only option is to select which authorities to believe. Too often their choice is someone or source that exudes power and wealth.

We are all socialized to believe authority figures. This naturally occurs given the long years of childhood dependency on parents, but it is strongly reinforced by ruling classes in all institutions simply because of the basic illegitimacy of their self-serving rule. Their continued rule depends to a considerable extent on their subjects' willingness to believe the authorities that they have appointed to every institution.

Class Dismissed: Identity Politics to the Front of the Line

Click here to access article by Alan Nasser from CounterPunch
Since an anemic recovery with rising unemployment was no obstacle to electoral success, the Democrats are convinced that need not address economic issues nor direct attention to the business interests which finance them. They need only address what they take to be their decisive constituencies. Enter identity politics as the predominant way of political thinking
What has taken the place of class issues are so-called “social issues.” Identity politics is foregrounded among “liberal” elites. We find a perfect illustration of the explicit and unabashed use of identity politics to misdirect attention from economic and class issues in a Hillary Clinton campaign speech at a February rally in Henderson Nevada.
I agree with this analysis of the Democratic Party and their current strategy. And, yes the present situation of this party being totally out of step with the realities of their traditional constituents offers an excellent opportunity for an organized effort "to induce people to a new way of thinking about politics". However over the many years of my life I have learned not to underestimate the influence of corporate media to manage the minds of the vast majority of my fellow Americans. In his hopeful conclusion Nasser asks:
Who would have imagined five years ago that it was remotely possible that socialism would become a feature of daily discourse?
But has socialism really "become a feature of daily discourse?" I think not. This socialism is only the old New Deal/Great Society repackaged with a radical sounding name that capitalist media has been so successful in smearing in the past. The fact that a liberal politician such as Bernie Sanders has been able, along with the collusion of corporate media, to redefine what socialism is all about (public ownership and control of the economy) is another indication of the power of the liberal wing of the ruling capitalist class to manage the political thinking of the majority of Americans. 

For me a promising organized effort will only occur when thinking Americans seriously get behind an alternative media to fight the corrosive effects of corporate media. In addition they will have to give up the notion that our capitalist masters will ever allow genuine socialist candidates to run in their elections. My fellow Americans must be prepared to go all the way to a revolutionary change by keeping their eyes on the real prize--public ownership and control of the economy, a most vital component of any society that pretends to be egalitarian.

Washington Slapdown: Turkey Turns to Moscow for Help

Click here to access article by Mike Whitney from CounterPunch.

Whitney draws from a number of recent analyses of the attempted coup against Erdogan's government in Turkey in order to support an argument that the coup attempt is having major effects on the US-led Empire's strategy for world domination. Although I resist inclinations to post speculative analyses, this one is very convincing as well as very significant in its implications for future global affairs and vital issues of war and peace.
On August 9, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan will meet with Russian President Vladimir Putin in Saint Petersburg  The two leaders will discuss political developments following the recent coup-attempt in Turkey, tourism, and the launching of Turkstream, the natural gas pipeline that will transform Turkey into southern Europe’s biggest energy hub.  They are also expected to explore options for ending the fighting in Syria. .... The meeting will end with the typical smiles and handshakes accompanied by a joint statement pledging to work together peacefully to resolve regional issues and to put an end to the proxy war that has left Syria in tatters.

All in all, the confab will seem like another public relations charade devoid of any larger meaning, but that’s certainly not the case.
Also on the same subject you might be interested in an article entitled "Why Washington is Terrified by the Prospects of the Upcoming Putin-Erdogan Meeting".

The Democrat who cried Trump!

by Ted Rall, cartoonist.

Sunday, August 7, 2016

A Lost History

Click here to access article by Eric Blanc from Jacobin.

This writer, activist, and historian from Oakland provides a history of the struggle for identity liberation within Marxist inspired organizations. Although such organizations were not always on the right side of these struggles in terms of both theory and practice, he argues convincingly that they generally were. I would argue and make clear that this history is in sharp contrast to capitalist ruling classes' desire to exploit such issues to divide workers using various social identity issues. 

However I have noticed a new ploy used by the liberal or subversive operatives within the liberal wing of the Democratic Party that has been used very effectively to promote an imperialist agenda. I am referring to the insidious use of support for social identity movements by the Democratic Party as an effective way to recruit especially young people to the party which otherwise promotes a very aggressive imperialist agenda throughout the world.

Such an analysis accounts for the following paragraph by Blanc:
Today it is far more common to dismiss the working class than to idealize it. Liberal identity politics has spread so widely that even a corporate politician like Hillary Clinton can plausibly discuss intersectionality. This climate demands that we rediscover the hidden history of the labor movement’s struggle against all forms of oppression.
Thus capitalist agents of this strategy have used a selective history of working class movements to discredit them, and simultaneously using the Democratic Party to promote social identity politics to recruit young people to the party. Instead of capitalist agents using social identities to divide and rule working people as they have so frequently throughout history, nowadays there is a section of the ruling class that cynically promotes the issue of social identities as a method of recruitment and co-optation of young people in support of a party that otherwise is a driver of imperialism. Hence we have seen liberals/agents in this party championing the causes of gay lifestyles, sexual identity, feminism, and others more rhetorically such as ethnicity/race and religion--even the legalization of marijuana which they demonized for years as a gatekeeper drug that led people to all kinds of hellish ends!

Hillary’s Speech: The Ultimate Brain-Wash

Click here to access article by Deena Stryker from New Eastern Outlook.
On the last day of the Democratic Convention, Hillary Clinton dressed in white in a remarked similarity to Melania Trump when she spoke at the Republican Convention. In response to Donald Trump’s motto: Make America Great Again Hillary Clinton declared, “America is great because America is good!” to ecstatic cheers from Democratic Convention delegates, who after four days of speeches, were still ready to swallow more bull.

“Brain-washed” was a popular American expression in the seventies and eighties, that mainly referred to the Soviet people who believed Communist propaganda, and it urgently needs to make a come-back. The number of lies the American people have swallowed since Vladimir Putin started wiping up the mess Washington’s man in Moscow, Boris Yeltsin, made before bowing out clutching his vodka bottle, is staggering.
At the risk of diminishing the author's excellent exposĂ© of Hillary Clinton's display of chronic lying, I wish to point out the primary origin of the word "brain-washing". I clearly remember it being used sensationally all over US corporate media during and years following the Korean War. The term was used to cover for the criminal use of biological warfare that the US engaged in during this war. When confronted by other witnesses and incontrovertible evidence, US airmen who were prisoners of war gave testimony corroborating this crime, and in turn the Chinese authorities reported this to international reporters. Most of the airmen didn't know the details (they were dropping insects infected with cholera, smallpox, and typhus), but they knew that they were dropping strange looking canisters over parts of mainland China and areas in northern Korea. (Another result was that 21 American prisoners and one British prisoner refused to be repatriated. Instead they opted to stay in China.) Well, this obviously presented an enormous problem for the directors of the US ruling class. 

So, our masters went to work fabricating stories about how this could have happened: the airmen faked stories about biological warfare to get less onerous treatment from their Chinese captors, the Chinese rewrote the airmen's confessions, and finally they charged the Chinese with using "brainwashing" to alter the minds of the prisoners through the use of chemicals and/or classical conditioning, etc. We Americans were subjected to ongoing propaganda about "brainwashing" for many years afterwards in every existing media: TV and radio broadcasts, use of experts, films like Manchurian Candidate, books, magazine articles, etc. Eventually all this ridiculous propaganda completely disappeared and eventually the term was used only as a method of implanting ideas in the heads of recipients by constant repetition--something we are now subject to on a daily basis, but not by the Chinese. (If you need corroboration of this whole issue, I highly recommend that you read This Must Be the Place (2013) by Dave Chaddock who exhaustively researched it.) 

First Sept 11, Now Saudi Arabia Linked To German Terrorst Attacks

Click here to access article by Tyler Durden from Zero Hedge.
Several weeks after the US government finally released a redacted version of the secret "28 pages", which confirmed Saudi Arabia's key role behind the September 11 attack, even as both the Obama administration and Saudi Arabia claimed no such connection exists (when it clearly did for anyone who actually read the disclosure), a trail has now emerged linking the recent surge in deadly terrorist attacks in Germany to Saudi Arabia.
For your information, I've checked the linked references to Der Spiegel and Financial Times (regarding the late Prince Saud al-Faisal quote to John Kerry) and they both are valid.

Middle East: Facts About the Alleged and Actual Usage of Chemical Weapons

Click here to access article by Jean Perier from New Eastern Outlook.
The alleged use of chemical weapons in Syria has once again been used by Western media in a  propaganda war against Damascus and Moscow. And it’s no wonder, since we’ve been witnessing such claims on the regular basis made by all sorts of paid “activists” based in Washington and London. And the string of groundless accusations against Moscow and Damascus is only getting worse....