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, October 29, 2016

The role of the US and Nato in EU relations with China

Click here to access article by Manlio Dinucci from Voltaire Network.

In this article Dinucci offers a very insightful perspective on the US-led Empire's efforts to maintain and extend their dominance of the world since the collapse of the Soviet Union.
To maintain its supremacy, increasingly wavering, the US relies not only on the strength of its weapons [via NATO], but also weapons more efficient than “weapons” in the strict sense of the word.

Christians in Syria: “Help us pull our country back from the brink of the abyss”

Click here to access article by Alessandra Nucci from The Catholic World Report.

Catholics all over Syria are pleading with all who will listen about the horrors of their war being perpetrated by outside forces. For example:
In an interview with Catholic bulletin La Bussola Quotidiana, Father Mtanios Haddad, Melkite Patriarchal Representative to the Holy See and rector of the Basilica of Saint Mary in Cosmedin in Rome, pointed out that: “In Syria there are 18 Christian families, between Catholics, Orthodox, Catholic Armenians, Orthodox Armenians, Chaldeans, Assyrians, Melkites…a mosaic that has always been in harmony with our Muslim cousins. The coexistence among religions was guaranteed for almost half a century by the government of the secular Baath party. In the Baath period we no longer had to indicate our religion on our ID cards. We were all Syrian citizens with equal rights, whatever our religion. Education was free for Christians and Muslims [including women] without distinction.”
He continued: 
This war has made us Christians the target of a fanatical Islam which has been literally imported from abroad.
Just stop selling arms to the terrorists, don’t let the terrorists come into Syria, it would cost you less. And it’s useless to lament the lack of food, milk for the children, and medicine: all you need to do is, rather, do away with the embargo.

Three things are needful: stopping the trade of arms from America (destined to the terrorists) closing Saudi Arabia’s wallet (which funds the terrorists) and closing the frontier with Turkey (through which come the terrorists).
Meanwhile in a report from one of the two prime media sources for the US-led Empire, the authors report that the CIA will continue to send heavy weapons to the "CIA-back rebels".

The Passion Behind Standing Rock Protest

Click here to access the introduction followed by a transcript of an interview with Bill Means, a longtime Native American activist, by Flashpoints program moderator Dennis Bernstein of KPFA, a listener sponsored radio station in Berkeley, California. You can listen to the 10/18/2016 broadcast of this interview which starts at 26:40m into the nearly 56 minute Flashpoints program.
The months-long struggle to stop the Dakota Pipeline near the territory of the Standing Rock Sioux Reservation in North Dakota has raised passions among Native American activists and environmentalists who have clashed with police trying to sweep the protesters aside.

To explain the intensity of the resistance, I interviewed Bill Means, co-founder of the American Indian Movement (AIM) and chairman of the International Indian Treaty Council, which has supported the North Dakota pipeline protests.
The most critical reason of all for the militant protests is the relatively high probability for a pipeline burst under or near the Missouri river adjacent to their reservation. If you think this possibility is remote, see this, this, this, and this.

The dark side of Jewish consciousness: manufactured anti-Semitism

Click here to access article by  Lillian Rosengarten from Mondoweiss.
I dedicate this essay to Hajo Meyer (1924-2014) anti-Zionist, political activist, Auschwitz survivor and hero in the struggle for Palestinian freedom. His words continue to inform me and his actions comfort my sorrow.
“An anti-Semite used to be a person who disliked Jews. I am not anti-Jew. I am anti-Zionist”
 “Zionism has nothing to do with Judaism. “
Zionism has always equated any criticism with anti-Semitism, delegitimization or worse. It serves as propaganda to maintain the illusion of Jews as “victims.” Ultra Nationalists who believe in their moral superiority create political terror in order to silence and deny.

Friday, October 28, 2016

Kindest People You've Ever Met: American Journalist Describes Lebanon, Syrian Attitude

The following post is a 25:29m interview conducted by a person from Era of Wisdom website the focus of which seems to me to be rather eccentric notions of spirituality and nutrition. However, the interviewee is Branden Turbeville who is a young activist who frequently posts articles with Activist Post. In this interview I regarded Turbeville as a typical young, aware American activist who along with unspecified others attempted to visit Syria, but ended up spending all of their time in adjacent Lebanon. In the interview he reports on his conversations with a lot of Syrian refugees specifically about what is going on in their war-torn country. I was quite fascinated by what he reported and the genuineness of his impressions.

Brandon Turbeville took a trip to Lebanon, and almost made it to Syria last month, to report on what is really going on.

In this interview, Brandon describes the humble, grateful attitude of the Syrian and Lebanese people. He recalls learning how they feel about Assad, the US government, the American people and more.

There is a 12:14m post that concludes this interview which can be found here. I was particularly interested in more of his observations about the Syrian people starting at 8:54m.

Public vs. Media on War

Click here to access article by David Swanson from his blog.

Here is more evidence that the war propaganda issued by corporate media is not having its desired effect.
A new poll from an unlikely source suggests that the U.S. public and the U.S. media have very little in common when it comes to matters of war and peace.

This poll was commissioned by that notorious leftwing hotbed of peaceniks, the Charles Koch Institute, along with the Center for the National Interest (previously the Nixon Center, and before that the humorously named Nixon Center for Peace and Freedom). The poll was conducted by Survey Sampling International.

Workers' share in productivity gains under capitalism

by cartoonist Joel Pett.

Thursday, October 27, 2016

The Rise of the Robots

Click here to access article by John T. Larabell from New American

The use of automation, artificial intelligence, and robots will undoubtedly created numerous and profound problems for the tiny class who will own these technologies under the system of capitalism. This article is written in the interests of this class and to allay the fears of the ninety-nine percent whom the technologies will undoubtedly impact. Because I don't know Larabell, I can't discern his motivation. He may be a very well indoctrinated useful idiot for the owning class or he may be a knowing, trained agent for this class to insure that we don't get any "bad" ideas about our future.

In any case, in addition to some fascinating recent illustrations of businesses using these advanced technologies, Larabell trots out one capitalist shibboleth after another to insure that we interpret the future properly: without the incentive of money people will do nothing because humans are basically lazy, government is a thing out there in the great beyond and is a menace to all freedom loving people, and the market will insure that people remain productive by forcing the unemployed to be creative entrepreneurs. 

Of course, Larabell never refers to the system of capitalism which will create these future problems--that would be blasphemy! Thus any ideas to suggest that society as a whole has any legitimate claim to these marvelous technologies is forbidden because they are legitimately "owned" by a tiny class of people. Also forbidden are any thoughts that the vast majority of people can benefit from these technologies by freeing them from the dulling effects of wage labor to engage in educating and governing themselves to create a decent, sustainable, and peaceful society and world.

The really only interesting part of this article are illustrations of the new uses of these technologies. Aside from this, you might want to avoid subjecting yourself to the ideologically tainted treatment of the social issues by skipping the rest of the text and listening only to Larrabell's comments in the 4:54m video. 

When AT&T Profits Off Government Snooping, Shouldn’t We Be Blaming the Government?

Click here to access article by Scott Shackford from Reason.

The author borrows heavily from the Daily Beast's article by Kenneth Lipp to put a spotlight on the close relationship between the government and AT&T which is apparently making mega profits by selling their data about our private communications to the government. Unfortunately, Shackford's shallow take on this collusion omits any serious understanding of today's political realities. Lipp's take on this issue is hardly better by introducing the issue with an illustration of how this arrangement was able to solve a particular crime. 

What both missed, and particularly Shackford, is that there is now a complete integration of corporations and the government. They have a symbiotic relationship to insure that the tiny ruling capitalist class's interests are always protected from the vast majority of ordinary people. This relationship provides our masters an end run around the right to privacy enshrined in the Fourth Amendment to the Constitution by contracting out the collection of private data to AT&T and other corporations. This arrangement does away with the legal requirement of obtaining a warrant from a judge to obtain information about not only potential law breakers, but anyone who engages in remotely seditious activities that threaten our masters.

With their narrow perspectives the two journalists miss entirely one major characteristic of fascism: the symbiotic nature of government and the capitalist ruling class. The latter have found numerous ways--not only by violating the right to privacy--to defeat every protection of the people from their rule.

Our current US ruling class has also added various laws (Patriot Acts) that can suspend our civil rights whenever they decide that events constitute an emergency, and by establishing locally unaccountable militarized police forces and fusion centers under the centralized control of the Department of Homeland Security. However, as long as their control of information and their holding of essentially show elections suffices to dumb-down sufficient numbers of ordinary people, they will not activate their police state methods. Should the former fail to promote their interests of profit and power, our ruling masters are ready to apply the more recognizable fascist measures. This setup provides their essentially fascist rule with a thin veneer of the rule of law, civil rights, and "democracy" which they would like to continue as long as possible.

This Changes Nothing: The Paris Agreement to Ignore Reality

Click here to access article which is an excerpt from a paper by Clive L. Spash posted on Wrong Kind of Green.
What the Paris Agreement tells is a bizarrely unreal story. Apparently, the cause of climate change is not fossil fuel combustion or energy sources but inadequate technology and the solution is sustainable development (i.e. economic growth and industrialisation) and poverty alleviation. As far as the current production and consumption systems are concerned, little needs to change. There are no elites consuming the vast majority of the world’s resources, no multinational corporations or fossil fuel industry needing to be controlled, no capital accumulating competitive systems promoting trade and fighting over resources and emitting vast amounts of GHGs through military expenditure and wars, and no governments expanding fossil fuel use and dependency.

The unreality of this document is only matched by the unreality of the praise given to it by the media and others.
Well, of course, they own the media.

Standing Rock Sioux Pipeline

by cartoonist Khalil Bendib.

Wednesday, October 26, 2016

Obama administration split on “Plan B” for Syria intervention

Click here to access article by Bill Van Auken from World Socialist Web Site.

The author reviews the recent items in the Washington Post which report on the secret meetings of the National Security Council (NSC) regarding strategies to pursue in Syria. (Unfortunately WSWS's policy is not to include any links to relevant articles, and I don't have time to search for them.) The NSC is a top agency that decides on the imperialist policies of the US. Because the meetings are secret, the substance of the Post's articles must have been leaked to the Post.

Although no decisions have been reached yet, the Post reports seem to indicate that the preponderance of opinion is for the most aggressive strategy which would likely result in the shooting down of Syrian and Russian airplanes.

I fully agree with the author's concluding remark: 
The recklessness of such policies, aimed at deliberately provoking military confrontation with Russia, a power that controls the world’s second-largest arsenal of nuclear weapons, is staggering.

Work harder so speculators can get more

Click here to access article by Pete Dolack from Systemic Disorder.
Class warfare is poised to reach a new milestone as this year’s combined total of dividends and stock buybacks by 500 of the world’s largest corporations will exceed US$1 trillion.

So large is that figure that, for the second year in a row, the companies comprising the S&P 500 Index (a list of many of the world’s biggest corporations) will pay out more money in dividends and stock buybacks than the total of their profits. Yes, times are indeed good for speculators. Not so good for employees — you know, the people who do the actual work — whose pay is stagnant or declining so that those at the top can scoop up still more.
Dolack once again explains how certain aspects of capitalism works in today's world. Today he focuses on stock buybacks that drive up stock prices. This phenomenon appears to start with the privately owned and controlled central banks and their recent policy of creating money on their computers which they refer to as "quantitative easing". It's a convoluted process, and I'm  not sure I understand it.

Tribute to the Last Honorable US Senator: The Story of Paul Wellstone’s Suspected Assassination

Click here to access article by Joachim Hagopian from Global Research. (Note: Instead of posting this article from Hagopian's blog according to my usual policy, I am using the post from Global Research because it includes a much more elaborate bio on Hagopian--at the end of the article.)
On October 25th, 2002 the last great hero of the common people in the US Senate was very likely murdered by agents of the shadow US crime cabal government otherwise known as the Bush-Cheney regime. His wife and daughter and two pilots also died in the air crash. Paul Wellstone’s story deserves to be retold and Americans need to be reminded that criminals in and out of our government still need to be punished for their unindicted crimes. This article was written as both a tribute to an outstanding American patriot and a reexamination of his probable assassination by criminals still on the loose.

Tuesday, October 25, 2016

The Cooperative Movement vs. Global Capitalism

Click here to access article by Margaret Rapp from Grassroots Economic Organizing.

This article is a transcript of a talk given by Rapp in Cuba this past June. She provides a useful survey of economic cooperatives, both past and present, their various forms, and their difficulties, for anyone interested in co-ops.

I don't believe that even the most intensive type form of cooperative--worker owned and managed enterprises--can offer any kind of effective challenge to capitalist directed corporations. However, they can be useful to materially support workers who are unemployed, who can't tolerate working condition in capitalist enterprises, who need to maintain their skills, and those who want to have experience in cooperative management. 

However, I see one exception to my assertion that cooperatives cannot challenge capitalist rule: an ideologically driven media organization to control information and ideas. (I will address the ideology later.) The capitalist ruling class control over information and ideas has been crucial for them to maintain their war prone, boom and bust system, and their ongoing assault on the environment. The continuing concentration of media in ever fewer hands--consider the current proposed merger between AT&T and Time-Warner--gives this class more power to shape information, ideas, values, etc to serve their many anti-social agendas. We now see the results of this power in the overwhelmingly false reporting of news about both domestic and foreign affairs which liberals and leftists like to rail about in alternative media. Then, of course, this control furthers the capitalist ruling class control over basic ideas and values that serves to add legitimacy to their barbaric system. 

Thus far I have seen only two articles which express even mild concern over this merger in the alternative media: here and here. One might argue that the concentration of media is already so extreme that more of it will not substantially change things, but the writers of these articles don't make that argument. These writers and the general population seem blissfully unaware of the significance of the control of information and ideas. This is definitely not true for the capitalist ruling classes.

I am making the argument that forming an international network of journalists and other interested people who are dedicated to honest reporting not only offers a media source that can 1) insure the communication of truthful information, but can also 2) offer a revolutionary catalyst for the overthrow of capitalist class rule. 

Consider the fact that poll after poll shows a deep distrust of mainstream media: see here and here. If people had access to another significant media source that could demonstrate honest reporting, the general public likely over time would turn to this source in increasing numbers. Thus far existing alternative media agents exhibit the same basic individualistic motives as their counterparts in mainstream media: they see themselves competing with other rivals in alternative media for donations and advertising. These influences must be acknowledged and dealt with by those who are still uncorrupted by capitalist ideology, and by those who have come to understand the most crucial issues of all: war and environmental destruction which threaten human survival.

By significant media source I mean a global network of reporting activists who are truly independent (not funded by capitalist sources) and dedicated to providing the most accurate information possible to all people in the world. This dedication to truth would be the fundamental consideration for participation in the network. Beyond this would be a dedication to social justice, equality, and genuine democracy in a world free of any social class domination. By combining numerous worldwide resources and skills in an organized network could such a organization become a significant media source which provides not only information but a platform for ideas consistent with the latter basic values. I believe that increasing numbers from the general populations would financially support such an alternative media organization.

Now with regard to a revolutionary catalyst, I argue that such an alternative global media network would obviously draw attention from capitalist ruling classes who regard the control of the dissemination of information and ideas as crucial to their continued rule over the world. They would use smears, infiltration, police intimidation, outright assassinations of alternative journalists, and all other means to destroy such a global media network. However, such attacks are likely to provoke a backlash from people in the general population, particularly if such attacks were well publicized in this alternative media. There would ensue an ongoing battle which could radicalize many formerly inactive people from the general population, and over time could evolve into an effective revolutionary movement.

The Path to Total Dictatorship: America's Shadow Government and Its Silent Coup

Click here to access article by John W. Whitehead from The Rutherford Institute
Say hello to America’s shadow government.

A corporatized, militarized, entrenched bureaucracy that is fully operational and staffed by unelected officials who are, in essence, running the country, this shadow government represents the hidden face of a government that has no respect for the freedom of its citizenry.
The fact of a shadow government or deep state that is in control of our government and society seems to be catching on among people who do not identify themselves as radicals. This attempt is noteworthy in that regard, but it is rather flawed.

Whitehead actually identifies two shadow governments; but his second, Continuity of Government, is only a creation of the first which the shadow government will use in the event of an emergency to the their rule. And I have problems with his identification of the first shadow government. 

It is much to broad. He identifies agencies that are under the control of the real shadow government. He never comes close to the real agents in this shadow government by identifying them as top actors and organizations in the capitalist ruling class: top bankers and heads of other financial organizations and their participation in such organizations as the Council on Foreign Relations, the Brookings Institute, or any other top policy-making ruling class organization.

US faces megadroughts and superstorms

Click here to access article by Tim Radford from Climate News Network
Climate change makes it at least three times more likely that tropical superstorms such as Hurricane Sandy will hit north-eastern cities in the US in coming decades.

In 2012, Sandy flooded parts of New York and New Jersey with three metres of storm surge on top of a high tide and altogether caused $71bn in damage and claimed 157 lives.

Climate change could also mean that the chances of megadroughts – 35 years or more of parched soils – could become much more likely in the US Southwest during this century.

The good news is that both events are naturally rare. And, even better, the future risks in each case could be reduced by sharp cuts in global greenhouse gas emissions.
But the findings, in recent studies led by Princeton and Cornell universities, represent an identifiable future cost of climate change under the business-as-usual scenario, in which fossil fuel combustion continues to increase at present rates.

Global warming continues; 2016 will be the hottest year ever recorded

Click here to access article by John Abraham from Skeptical Science
We know the world is warming – no factor can explain it aside from human emissions of greenhouse gases. Despite this, people who deny the basic facts of climate change have tried to argue that the Earth is either not warming or is only slowly heating. Well that just isn’t true anymore. The last three years are the nail in the coffin of the deniers of climate change. We have enough data this year to call 2016 as the hottest year ever record – and we have three more months left to go.

So, just how hot is 2016?

Monday, October 24, 2016

The Nature of Capitalism

Click here to access article by Troy Vettese from Jacobin

The title for this article is much too abstract for its contents. (The could be the fault of the editor of this website.) The author lauds a new book entitled Fossil Capital by Andreas Malm as possessing rather new radical ideas.  It seems to me that I have seen other writers using the very same reasons to explain why early capitalists turned to coal as an energy source. 

In my mind what is new is that Malm points to a historical parallel for the use of coal by early capitalists with their current preference to use fossil fuels as an energy source over renewable forms energy. Hence "green capitalism is an oxymoron". 
The rout extends to many renewable energy firms that have recently withered or gone bankrupt. “From a peak in 2011 to the year of 2013,” Malm observes, “global investments in renewable energy fell by 23 percent. In Europe the figure was a stunning 44 percent (Malm’s emphasis).”
That the use of renewable energies has declined is not convincingly presented in this article, and it needs to be considering that the use of renewable energies has reportedly been increasing. Somebody is lying by distorting data.

What is clear is that capitalists because of the system's growth imperative must use energy sources that are very flexible and the cheapest. These two reasons account for the fact that contemporary capitalists will never accept paying the full price--nor could they--of the horrific damage inflicted on our planet-home by their use of fossil fuels. 

Russia continues to destroy the New World Order morally and politically

Click here to access article by Jonas E. Alexis from Veterans Today.
Are New World Order agents ready to deal with Putin and indeed Russia? Do they want war or peace? Are they willing to drop their essentially diabolical plan and face reality?
The author exposes the inherent biases that is expressed in most of current Anglo-American media (with special emphasis on "The Spectator") and by officials regarding the new "Hitler" Putin and Russia.

Sunday, October 23, 2016

War, US Government Corporate Propaganda, The CIA And The Russian "Putin Threat"

Click here if you wish to access this 33:34m video interview with Prof. Mark Crispin Miller directly from YouTube. (Note: I could not find it on KPFA's Workweek program which is credited with doing the interview.) 

I originally discovered Miller around 1990 when I subscribed to his email list to receive his articles. This was before the World Wide Web. After the web was established, I dropped my subscription. To my delight I re-discovered Miller only in the last few years. Since then I have become even more impressed with his integrity and his exceptional knowledge about media and propaganda. It was wonderful to learn that this tenured professor of media studies at NY University is still very active in exposing the widespread use of dis-informing propaganda that our ruling class masters are using incessantly to keep ordinary people in complete ignorance about what they are doing.
New York University professor Mark Crispin Miller talks about war, the US government propaganda, the corporate media, the CIA and the Russian "Putin" threat. Miller also reports on how the corporate media tried to get him fired using a NYU graduate student working for VICE owned by Rupert Murdock. He also discusses the role of the United States in overthrowing the Ukraine government and establishing a neo-fascist government. He also analyses the role of the CIA and the US government in their organized effort to demonize Putin and Russia and create a US population hysteria similar to the 1950s possibly leading to martial law and war with Russia.
This interview was done during the Project Censored 40th anniversary at Sonoma State University on October 22, 2016 by Pacifica KPFA WorkWeek host Steve Zeltzer.

American Psycho: Sex, Lies and Politics Add Up to a Terrifying Election Season

Click here to access article by John W. Whitehead from The Rutherford Institute.

Some people are catching on that the current show election sponsored by our masters in the capitalist ruling class has absolutely nothing to do with reality.
It’s like being in the Twilight Zone.

Only instead of Rod Serling’s imaginary “land of both shadow and substance, of things and ideas,” we’re trapped in an all-too-real land of politics and lies, where freedom and integrity play second fiddle to ambition and greed.

Nothing is real.

This year’s presidential contest and its candidates have, through their double-talking and lies, pulled back the curtain to reveal that what we see is all part of an elaborate hoax, a cruel game where “we the people” are just pawns to be used, abused, discarded and demonized when convenient.

My video for Moby, ‘Are You Lost In The World Like Me?’

Click here if you wish to access this animated 3:15m cartoon directly from Steve Cutts' website.

I think that Cutts is a brilliant illustrator and animator (as he describes himself). If you like this post, I'm sure you will be enticed to explore his other material.