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, November 5, 2016

Assange: Clinton is a cog for Goldman Sachs & the Saudis

Click here to access the transcript of a 24:53m interview conducted by Australian journalist John Pilger with Julian Assange, a founder of Wikileaks and a political refugee from Empire persecution, who has been trapped at the Ecuadorian embassy in London for over four years. In the interview Assange draws on his vast knowledge of the intercepted emails to inform his insightful comments about the funding of ISIS, American deep state politics, and some details about his confinement in the Ecuadorian embassy.

Drone: Robot Imperium

Click here to access article by Stephen Graham from Transnational Institute

This is a fairly lengthy read which takes you on a tour of the killing machines that US Empire agents use mostly in the Middle East and adjacent areas. Even our hopey-changey leader Obama has gotten in on some of the action. The author examines some of the details about what it is like for operators sitting in Nevada and other safe places to use these weapons, what the experience is for people living in such targeted areas, possible future uses, and speculation on the increasing use by activists in opposition to our capitalist masters.
Armed drones have created a top-down view of the world, in which military officials and politicians assert an ideology of inherent superiority over subjugated, racialised people — or even dehumanised non-people — far beneath the  drone's gaze.

Friday, November 4, 2016

“Our free press” as a clear and present danger (MUST-SEE VIDEO)

Click here if you wish to access the 109:39m video featuring three of four of my favorite media people directly from The Global Critical Media Literacy Project's website. This video of the panel discussion was posted by Prof. Nolan Higdon.
The 2016 Media Freedom Summit celebrated 40 years of Project Censored. The event also brought together independent journalists, media activists, professors, students, and members of the public to discuss the links between media power and political power, and to share effective strategies for advancing social justice by promoting media freedom and critical media literacy.

The round-table for the 2016 Media Freedom Summit took place at Sonoma State University on October 21, 2016. The speakers included Abby Martin (Empire Files) with Mnar Muhawesh (Mint Press News), David Talbot ( journalist, author and media entrepreneur), and Mark Crispin Miller (New York University)

Susan George on the Development of a Treaty on Human Rights and Transnational Corporations

Click here if you wish to access this 3:25m video featuring Susan George directly from the Transnational Institute talking about the Investor-state dispute settlement (ISDS) clause that is always included in the new trade treaties.
Susan George joined an expert panel on the first day of a meeting of a working group of the UN Human Rights Council, tasked with developing a treaty on transnational corporations and human rights. She spoke with the Global Campaign to Dismantle Corporate Power about the history of UN action on transnational corporations, the potential pitfalls of the current treaty negotiations, and the range of tax abuses, wage evasion, and investor protection weapons that transnational corporations can use.

Finance as warfare

Click here to access article by the editor (Edward Fullbrook) of Real-World Economic Review Blog.

In this article the author introduces us to a book by Michael Hudson entitled Finance as Warfare published by RWER. However, what is left out in this introduction is the fact that in this era of globalization, capitalists totally disregard borders (unlike the rest of us). That means that their own populations (mostly in the US and Britain) are put into debt and controlled by debt as well as foreign nations and their populations. So it's global class warfare not imperialism as is implied in the introduction; and I suspect according to my reading of Hudson's articles, that it is likewise treated in his book.

Wake Up Call

by British illustrator and animator Steve Cutts from his website.

Thursday, November 3, 2016

Hillary's reckoning?

Click here if you wish to access this CrossTalk discussion from RT
Hillary Clinton and her never-ending scandals. The FBI’s decision to continue its investigation into her use of a private email server presents the troubling prospect of a protracted political crisis. Is winning the election now the least of her problems?

CrossTalking with Mark Crispin Miller, Don DeBar, and Bruce Fein.

Changing the Culture of Wall Street Requires Ending Continuity Government in Washington

Click here to access article by Pam Martens and Russ Martens from Wall Street on Parade.
It’s more than a coincidence that at a time when the two leading candidates for the highest office in the United States are considered untrustworthy by tens of millions of their fellow citizens, the industry that has perpetually attempted to stack the political deck in Washington has also lost the trust of a majority of Americans.

This feels to many like having Wall Street’s one percent at the rudder for the past two decades has finally steered the ship of state into a toxic sink hole that is devouring the credibility of the United States at home and abroad.
These watchdogs of the ever evolving corruption of government by the tiny ruling capitalist class don't realize the major significance of this growth of corruption. They are wildly underestimating what it would take to change the "culture of Wall Street" by ending "continuity government in Washington". (This last phrase is not to be confused with "Continuity of Government"--see this, this, and this.) 

The Martens are essentially describing the current rule of the capitalist class whose rule has evolved into what it is today. Although the DNA of capitalism was firmly installed by our "Founding Fathers", the gross symptoms of this barbarous system started appearing since the great fortunes were made by a relatively few people during the Gilded Age. This concentration of wealth easily translated into control of the American nation. Since then the capitalist class has consolidated their control over the nation with the Federal Reserve Act, the growing ownership and concentration of corporate media, and their installations of secret agencies such as the FBI, CIA, and NSA. Only a well organized revolutionary movement can dislodge this tiny, but powerful class from power.

Pension funds fuel land grabs in Brazil

Click here if you wish to access article directly from Grain.
Around the world, farmers are losing their lands, often violently, to large companies and speculators who see farmland as a lucrative investment. But what are the complex mechanisms behind these processes? Could your pension fund be contributing to land grabbing in places like Brazil?

This animated video shows how a global farmland fund, managed by US financial giant TIAA-CREF, used a complex company structure to avoid restrictions on foreign investment in farmland in Brazil. It then acquired lands from a Brazilian businessman who has used violence and fraud to grab large areas of farmland from small farmers and indigenous peoples in the Brazilian states of Maranhão and Piauí. This video is intended to pressure pension funds to publicly disclose the names and locations of the farmlands they have acquired across the world and to stop speculating on farmland.

Struggles over land and resources are intensifying in Brazil, where 150 environmental activists have been murdered since 2012, many of whom were fighting to protect the lands of small farming communities. It is important for us to expose the actors and mechanisms behind this violence and say STOP to farmland speculation and land grabbing.

Wednesday, November 2, 2016

Some Fun Facts for a Dystopic Future

Click here to access article by "xraymike79" from his blog Collapse of Industrial Civilization.

The author has taken quite a while to post new material on his blog, and this one portends a future that is the darkest of all of them. If you have a weak stomach for suck bleak facts--the author's "fun facts" are meant to be ironic--you should probably not read this. Instead, I advise you to turn on the boob-tube for escapist entertainment, or turn to your favorite hallucinatory drug of choice. If you have such a weak stomach and still bravely or recklessly decide to read it, I advise you to take some anti-depressant medication before reading it.
We’ve been fooling ourselves for a very long time about what is truly sustainable and will continue to do so as the system falls apart, geoengineering fixes are applied, interstellar space colonization fantasies are dreamed up, and wars are fought for what remains. Humans have constructed a reality incompatible with the well-being of the natural world and the stability of the biosphere, but we won’t be able to escape the rules of physics, chemistry, and biology. We’ve spent generations making the bed we’re going to be lying in, never realizing it’s also our death bed. Time is not on our side.

Most are not listening and our leaders are misleading, so it bears repeating: ‘The Oil Age’ made us all confident idiots with short attention spans.
As for myself, I read it and acknowledge the many truths that it reveals about the future of humans. Still, as long as there is any chance of survival, I will continue to attack the real culprit of our predicament: our relatively recent history of capitalist class rule that has so voraciously consumed fossil fuels to satisfy their addictions to wealth and power. And even if our future is doomed, I still want to attack this class which has so compulsively led us to our extinction.

Afghanistan: What has Fifteen Years of Occupation Achieved

Click here to access article by James ONeill from New Eastern Outlook.

In spite of the article's glaring weakness, the author, who is an Australian attorney, provides an excellent summary of the results of NATO's invasion and occupation of Afghanistan, and compares the realities of this conflict with the myths propagated by mainstream media. The glaring weakness: he doesn't provide a single link to any evidence that support a number of his factual allegations. I am posting this for those of you who have been following accurate alternative sources of information for at least since the 9/11 event and know from this experience that most, if not all, of his allegations are correct. 

Still, I would have been elated to find supporting links about the US use of their military bases to transfer opium to markets in the US, Europe, and elsewhere. I think that this is very likely correct because of the security and secrecy that such transfers would provide. I do know that the CIA was using their airline Air America to import illicit drugs into the US during the Vietnam War. And there is no doubt that the US has currently been experiencing an epidemic of heroin addiction in the US as widely reported in mainstream media, but the latter never ask questions about how opium is imported into the US.

The Million-Dollar Diamond Theft at the World Trade Center on 9/11

Click here to access article from 9/11 Blogger.
Over a million dollars' worth of diamonds and bonds were apparently stolen from an armored truck in the basement of the World Trade Center when the terrorist attacks took place on September 11, 2001, which suggests that someone--or some people--may have had foreknowledge of the 9/11 attacks and exploited the chaos they knew the attacks would generate in order to commit their crime at a time when there was minimal risk of getting caught.

Furthermore, there was an attempt to remove an unusually large amount of gold from vaults in the basement of the World Trade Center at the time of the attacks, which indicates that other people may have known in advance about the attacks and, based on their foreknowledge, tried to get the gold out before it became buried in the rubble of the Twin Towers.

AT&T Developed Secret Program To Help U.S. Police Mine Client Phone Records

Click here to access article by Pratap Chatterjee from CorpWatch

Here we find another report on the government's police agencies, which serve the ruling capitalist class, doing an end-run around privacy statutes in the Constitution in order to access information about anyone who might pose problems for the capitalist government. The article explains how the AT&T arrangement works and other background information.
Police departments across the U.S. pay AT&T, the telecommunications giant, over one hundred thousand dollars a year for special access to telephone records of clients without first obtaining a warrant. The program is called 'Hemisphere' and the company required buyers to keep its existence secret. 

A Super Capitalist Predator: AT&T

by cartoonist Dave Granlund.

Tuesday, November 1, 2016

States of exclusion

Click here to access article by Phil Marfleet from Socialist Review (Britain).

Marfleet provides some enlightening answers to the following questions:
Why are borders so important to the modern state? Why do politicians and the media obsess about “border security”? What lies behind the politics of exclusion?

North Korea is an [sic] Pentagon Vassal State

Click here to access article by F. William Engdahl from New Eastern Outlook.

I don't normally post articles by people who write endlessly about their speculations regarding world events, but this essay struck me as explaining a lot about the activities of North Korea under Kim Jong Un as serving US ruling class interests. Engdahl clearly states his thesis in the first paragraph, and then in the rest of the essay assembles evidence and arguments in support of the thesis. It appears that his thesis was inspired by a memory of a conversation he had with a person well connected with the US's deep state at one of the Empire's gathering of influential people during the late 1990s. 

This is conspiracy theorizing at its best in a never-ending and urgent effort to uncover the rationale for the Empire's actions which always lie hidden below a thick layer of deceptive propaganda and secrecy. These latter characteristics are imperative in any bourgeois democracy (the capitalist ruling class's fake version of real democracy) simply because the wealth and power interests of any capitalist ruling class corresponds poorly with the interests of the vast majority of ordinary people.

Geo-engineering unlikely to work, conservation group says

Click here to access article by Alex Kirby from Climate News Network.
The global watchdog responsible for protecting the world’s wealth of species, the UN’s  Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD), has looked at the hopes for reining in climate change through geo-engineering. Its bleak conclusion, echoing that reached by many independent scientists, is that the chances are “highly uncertain” [translation: highly unlikely].

Monday, October 31, 2016

Brexit and the Future of the Left [a best post]

Click here to access article by Boris Kagarlitsky from Globalizations

The author criticizes much of the left in Britain over their lack of leadership and support for the working class in their vote to leave the European Union which was thoroughly organized to promote neoliberalism and the interests of the international capitalist ruling classes. He sees the same phenomenon here in the United States with the popularity of Trump and the rejection of Hillary Clinton. 

Most of the left in Britain, Europe, and the US have been so co-opted, compromised, and intimidated that they have so far failed to articulate the class issues of this revolt and to lead the working class in their incoherent struggle against the capitalist ruling classes and their neoliberal agendas. Kagarlitsky concludes his essay with this warning:
The struggle for power requires an organization and much more rigid mechanisms of mobilization than network structures. But most of all, it requires a strong will and political independence. The political transformation, which is currently under way in the US and Western Europe, is changing the conditions under which people in the entire world live and struggle, opening new opportunities for them. The opposite is also true: Syriza’s betrayal, Sanders’ capitulation, Corbyn’s wavering are not just issues of Greek, American, or British politics?…?. These are failures for which not only the left but all humanity will pay the price.

The neoliberal system, which the likes of Hillary Clinton and Francois Hollande are trying to preserve, is already so dysfunctional, so decayed that every day it survives undermines the basic means of societal reproduction. If we are not ready to fight for its deconstruction, it will break down naturally. But the alternative will not be a new nice social order imagined by anti-globalists, but rather chaos and barbarism growing spontaneously.

A paralysis of will, which struck the left movement during the epoch of neoliberalism, must be overcome.

Moore: Why Millions of Americans Are Voting Trump

Click here to access brief article and 4:27m video (from Brasscheck TV) posted on 21st Century Wire.
Editors Note [21st Century Wire]: The following is an audio clip is taken from Michael Moore’s recent film,’TrumpLand.’ Ironically, Moore’s film was meant to be a last-ditch pro-Clinton project, but as it turns out, this ultra-liberal enemy of Donald Trump delivered to best explanation for the Trump political phenomenon. Moore set out to make an anti-Trump film, but this clip accidentally went viral and has become a key rallying cry for the Trump Movement. Perhaps Moore is now regretting his inadvertent outburst of honesty.

Clinton can't patch these WikiLeaks

Click here if you wish to access this post by cartoonist Steve Benson directly from The Arizona Republic.

 Hillary Clinton has a leak she can't seem to fix.

The worst kind of leak. WikiLeaks.

The hacker group released its ninth -- yes, ninth -- batch of stolen emails Sunday from Clinton campaign staffers discussing things like how to appeal to black voters and deal with the media.
[Unfortunately this post did not provide a link to the Wikileaks release. Here is a post that provides a summary and a link to the Wikileaks post.]

If they're authentic -- Team Clinton questions whether some pieces have been doctored -- they're mostly embarrassing, not the kind of stuff that would end a campaign. Still, the steady stream of insider info has deluged Clinton, stealing some of the spotlight from Donald Trump's troubles.

What do you think?

Sunday, October 30, 2016

The Future of New Media

I am posting two talks given by members a new British media cooperative known as the Real Media. They are on a promotional tour throughout Britain trying to drum up support for a new crowd-funded media network. So far they have a YouTube channel on which they post video reports on various subjects. I don't know much about this group--no more than what I've posted here--but it looks like a promising idea similar to one I have long advocated (see my commentary here).
Thomas Barlow, co-founder and senior editor at Real Media, speaks at the Bristol leg of the Real Media tour.

The theme of the evening is 'The Future of Real Media', and he is joined by Kerry-Anne Mendoza of The Canary, and Craig McVegas from Novara Media, as well as Dean Ayotte from The Bristol Cable, and Elizabeth Mizon of The Media Fund.

Thomas talks about Chomsky's Five Filters - the distorting filters that lie between the truth and the news we read. He suggests that new media has an opportunity to bypass these filters if we cooperate and work together to build networks rather than compete with each other.

Writer and film-maker Elizabeth Mizon speaks about the launch of The Media Fund at the Bristol leg of the Real Media tour.