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, December 31, 2016
Friday, December 30, 2016
Greenwald provides the latest example of corporate media issuing fake news.
Julian Assange is a deeply polarizing figure. Many admire him and many despise him....
But one’s views of Assange are completely irrelevant to this article, which is not about Assange. This article, instead, is about a report published this week by The Guardian that recklessly attributed to Assange comments that he did not make. This article is about how those false claims — fabrications, really — were spread all over the internet by journalists, causing hundreds of thousands of people (if not millions) to consume false news. The purpose of this article is to underscore, yet again, that those who most flamboyantly denounce Fake News, and want Facebook and other tech giants to suppress content in the name of combating it, are often the most aggressive and self-serving perpetrators of it.
As a recipient of Social Security and Medicare I can report my experience with these two programs. There has been an ongoing surreptitious assault on both programs for at least the last seven years, and it boggles my mind as to the lack of public outcry over this issue. As long as our ruling masters in the capitalist class can get away with their assault on retired people, many of whom are very vulnerable, they will continue to do so. But then that seems to be true of all poor people. The latter are the primary victims on our ruling class's imperial adventures within the USA.
Lindorff writes about how the Social Security should operate according to its rules, but not how it actually functions. For this information I have found one source that I believe is by far the most credible:
Dr. Allen W. Smith is a Professor of Economics, Emeritus, at Eastern Illinois University. He is the author of seven books and has been researching and writing about Social Security financing for the past ten years. His latest book is Raiding the Trust Fund: Using Social Security Money to Fund Tax Cuts for the Rich. Read other articles by Allen, or visit Allen's website.In his latest article Smith writes:
The $2.7 trillion in Social Security surplus revenue, generated by the 1983 payroll tax hike is gone. It is not sitting in the trust fund or anywhere else. The money was embezzled as it came in and used to help finance wars. tax cuts, and other programs. As the money was spent, government IOUs were issued to keep track of the money. The IOUs, themselves, have no market value and cannot be sold. They serve as certificates of debt.Back in August I calculated my basic living expenses compared to Social Securities "cost-of-living adjustments" each year. My cost of just my living quarters in a one bedroom apartment has increased over the past 10 years by 75.2% while my Social Security benefits have only increased 18.2% for the same period. Now the 2017 property maintenance fees alone on my condo are due to go up by 2.4% while my Social Security adjustment will increase only .3%! Apparently our masters are hoping that with this slow attrition of benefits, nobody will notice; and in the future nobody will be able to retire.
Being forced to give up supplementary health insurance and with only Medicare insurance coverage, I can no longer get a reasonably good physician as my primary provider of medical services. The only option I and others have who don't have supplementary private insurance is a clinic that is run like a charity organization staffed by poorly qualified doctors. This clinic appears to cut corners on their expenses by having nursing personnel make decisions on patient care that a doctor should make.
Thursday, December 29, 2016
Berlin, like Paris, Brussels, Munich, Orlando… is just a cog in the wheel of the monster’s drive towards full world hegemony.
Unexpected, haphazard carnage and terror acts are spreading misery, poverty and fear.
People who are afraid will call for more police and military protection.
They will voluntarily give up their human and civil rights for what they hope will be more ‘protection’, being totally oblivious to the fact that the very governments from whom they are seeking more protection are those that commit these acts of treason and terror, those who are behind the killings. The Anglo-american controlled presstitute mainstream media is in permanent brainwashing mode. Unless you search the news and information for yourself on alternative media, they will never tell you the truth, but their lies, after lies, after more of the same lies will fabricate the public truth.
The neocons and their liberal-interventionist chums never seem to think through one of their “regime change” schemes. It’s enough that they wrote the plan down in some op-ed article or reached a consensus at a think-tank conference. After that, all there is to do is to generate the requisite propaganda, often accompanied by intelligence “leaks” and maybe some heartbreaking photos of children, to rile up the American people so they can be easily herded into the next slaughterhouse.I keep wondering how much longer my fellow Americans will allow themselves to be so "easily herded into the next slaughterhouse" by our masters in the capitalist ruling class.
We’ve seen this pattern play out over and over again, from Iraq to Libya to Syria to Ukraine. You could even go back to the 1980s and the project for arming Afghanistan’s mujahedeen and a collection of international jihadists led by Osama bin Laden, a project enthusiastically supported by both Republicans and Democrats.
Meanwhile, I am trying to figure out if our masters are split into two camps: one under the incoming Trump administration that wants to cozy up to Russia in a strategy to split Russia from China (as argued by F. William Engdahl); or two, (more of the same) the continuation of past policies of aggressively waging a new cold war against both Russia and China. Either way, we are in for more austerity and fake news and views at home, wars abroad, and increasing destabilization of our climate.
Obama's recent signing of the Pentagon budget bill promises more of the same as reported in this article by Bill Van Auken from World Socialist Web Site. It also includes funding for more sophisticated weaponry for the Empire's proxy forces that are trying to bring down the Syrian government, and our ruling class's effort to crack down on alternative websites that present views and analysis that our masters don't like.
[The bill] includes a provision known as the “Countering Disinformation and Propaganda Act,” which represents a plan to build up the propaganda arm of the US government. In the name of creating a new government agency to “counter foreign state and non-state propaganda and disinformation efforts aimed at undermining United States national security interests,” it establishes the framework for directing propaganda against the American people and cracking down on anyone who challenges or exposes the crimes of the US government.
Fake news and propaganda driven by government’s and corporations is of course, nothing new. Brexit and the American election have brought the subject into sharp focus more recently as the political class have been unexpectedly losing important desired outcomes. Consequently, as TruePublica reported a week ago, in Britain, controversial laws have been introduced to stem free speech, which, over the passage of time will be used to halt any individual, website or news outlet from reporting against the government narrative with so-called fake news eventually being outlawed. Think this is conspiratorial theorising? Think again.While reading this article, I had a thought that I wish to share with you. Isn't it amazing how the issue of "fake news" suddenly appeared and took hold in media throughout the US-led Empire? I only saw its first appearance after the election of Trump.
To me, it is another illustration of the monolithic shaping of ideas that the Empire imposes on all the NATO countries which are members of the Empire. From all appearances none of these states have a significant amount of independence. The evidence furnished by the "fake news" issue; the anti-Russian economic, political, and military policies; the unanimity regarding the sacredness of banking interests; the occurrence of terrorist incidents; and other issues combine to favor a view that Empire countries are controlled by a super ruling class. The only difference that I've found among these 28 countries is over the acceptance of political refugees fleeing from the war plagued Middle East and the fairly recent independent policies of Turkey. Yet these states are all advertised as being "democracies"!
War is so good from business, especially for the military-industrial section of the US capitalist economy whose interests of profit and power drives US Empire policies.
Wednesday, December 28, 2016
I'm posting this as a prime illustration of liberal thinking (in the modern sense) which had its heyday in the 1930s under the Franklin Roosevelt administration to counter the threat of revolutionary ideas that were fueled by the successful Russian Revolution of 1917. Its roots were in President Wilson's administration, and its slow demise came after WWII when its philosophy was vigorously attacked by right-wing capitalists (fascists) during the McCarthy period as a reaction to liberalism as practiced by members of FDR's administration. This modern sense of liberalism had a brief resurrection under the Kennedy administration, but was soon extinguished with his (and his brother's) assassination by the ruling class's CIA.
This concept is to be distinguished from classical liberalism which included the core concept of private ownership of the new economy that was arising in Europe in the 17th & 18th century characterized by the harnessing of various forms of power (water, coal, petroleum) with machines operated by workers. A new class that came to be known as capitalists wanted the same exclusive control over these new productive units that feudal authorities had over agriculturally based landed economies.
Originally the words relating to liberalism were influenced by the need of the new class of capitalists to attract peasants and other workers in their struggle to take power away from feudal authorities consisting of monarchs, aristocracies, and the Catholic church which was the ideological ally of the feudal authorities. Hence the new capitalist ruling classes always publicly presented classic liberalism, which included private ownership of the economy, as promoting various freedoms such as speech, association, vague notions of equality, and promoted notions of a social contract (under capitalist governing structures called states) which promised peasants and workers that the new capitalist class rule would insure their welfare. Their ideas appealed to many because they promised that one could achieve prosperity based on one's merits and hard work, and not on connections or social rank as had been the case under feudalism. As you can see, these deceptions worked to bring this tiny class of "owners" to the overwhelming power and wealth that they enjoy today.
Since the concentration of wealth in the hands of a few people during the latter half of the 19th century known as the Gilded Age (in the US), capitalist ideological authorities started dropping notions of private economic property from public discourse in order to prevent any notions among the hoi polloi that other systems existed, most especially systems without their class rule which was based on ownership of economic property.
Hence the success of the Russian Revolution profoundly threatened the capitalist classes, and they mobilized every weapon they could to crush the Soviet Union. This viscerally hostile reaction by leading capitalist classes to the Soviet revolution colored so much of the history of the 20th century. Early on around 13 capitalist nations invaded Russia immediately following the revolution and many of these nations also funded the White armies that were in opposition to the new Soviet government. During the 1930s capitalist ruling classes in Europe and North America heavily backed the rise of the Nazi party in Germany (see this, this, this, and this) with the idea in mind of Germany attacking the Soviet government (Hitler had written this in Mein Kampf). These ruling classes insured that their countries remained "neutral" while the fascist governments of Germany and Italy destroyed the republican government of Spain. Here in the US the FDR administration pursued liberal policies (in the modern sense) in order to counter radical ideas that began taking hold in the US during the Great Depression when 25% of Americans were unemployed amidst full employment in the Soviet Union.
Neoliberalism is an ideology whose exponents want to do away with the rest of the propaganda baggage of the original classic liberalism by eliminating the costly programs of the "social contract" in addition to weakening constitutional protections of civil liberties (as they have already done under the Patriot Act), and strictly promote the narrow interests of major economic property owners (capitalists) throughout the globe by eliminating border restrictions on commerce.
This introduction was necessary to explain Giroux's liberal views regarding political forces today. Notice that he makes no reference to capitalism. Such liberal views represent the last gasp of contemporary liberals who still cling to notions of a kinder, gentler form of capitalism which he, along with other liberals, refers to as "democracy". This is because he as been so completely indoctrinated in capitalist ideology by having spent many years in academia to the extent that the subject of capitalism can no longer even be questioned. The sooner this view dies, and the ascendance of revolutionary ideas of bottom-up authority structures and public ownership/control of the economy, the better for the survival of humans.
Tuesday, December 27, 2016
Click here to access a copy of Chapter 1 ("Part 2") to a recently published book by Nicholas Schou entitled Spooked: How the CIA Manipulates the Media and Hoodwinks Hollywood posted on WhoWhatWhy.
You may also be interested in a 33:07m interview with Schau (I posted this back in August) of Schou discussing his book with Kevin Gosztola of Shadowproof.
The author explains a bit about his background followed more in detail about his contacts with the CIA in preparation for his book The Phoenix Program that was first published in 1990. What he learned from is contacts with the CIA is probably more applicable today than ever before.
I said that in the book specifically about The New York Times. I said, “When it comes to the CIA and the press, one hand washes the other. To have access to informed officials, reporters frequently suppress or distort stories. In return, CIA officials leak stories to reporters to whom they owe favors.” I told how, at its most incestuous, reporters and government officials are related. I cited the example of Charles LeMoyne, a Navy officer who ran the CIA’s counter-terror teams for a year in the Delta, and his New York Times correspondent brother James. I said that if Ed Lansdale hadn’t had Joseph Alsop to print his black propaganda in the US, there probably would have been no Vietnam War.
So I not only got the CIA mad at me, I also got the Vietnam press corps angry at me too.
I haven't had time to view all of these videos, but I believe they show what you are not allowed to see in corporate media, and illustrate very well the fake news that corporate media keep inflicting on the American people to cover for the capitalist Empire's war crimes.
Monday, December 26, 2016
Peace activist and Radio Host Dan Yaseen and author/analyst Jeff J. Brown discuss China, Western Empire, the future of Planet Earth and the roots and inspirations of Jeff's political awakening, as told in his latest book, China Rising: Capitalist Roads, Socialist Destinations. This is a very personal, revealing interview you will not want to miss.Yaseen asks four main questions after his introduction and before general questions about his book at 25:35m. If you don't know about Jeff Brown and his unusual itinerary which eventually took him to China where he now resides and works, be sure to listen to the introduction.
- 2:10m He asks Brown about his views of the Deep State.
- 8:50m He asks about the three leaders since China's independence in 1949.
- 16:50m He asks about the "pivot to China" policy and China's installation of military bases on islands off China's coast.
- 21:55m Brown's views of Trump's election and what changes we might expect from his administration.
Ain't capitalist elections wonderful?! After nearly two years of the electoral stage show, US citizens have chosen a president who does essentially the same thing as the preceding presidents.
Just when we thought it couldn't get worse with the recruitment of the Wall Street mafia by Donald Trump, he does everything he can to make sure that the US plutocracy will secure its interests at the expense of the US middle class. With such a cabinet, it's a matter of time to see the US middle class completely vanished.But this concern for the middle class poses a question in my mind: why should societies be divided by classes competing over influence and rewards? Answer: only people who are in the top class enjoy this kind of class warfare. Unfortunately, the top class nowadays only constitutes about .01% of the population.
The recruitment of another plutocrat and fanatic supporter of deregulation proves now, beyond doubt, that Trump is here to continue the neoliberal pro-establishment agenda for the benefit of his billionaire class.
An Australia journalist dared to ask a forbidden question of a former Israeli government official:
Loewenstein has been under fire since he attended the event in Jerusalem, hosted by the Foreign Press Association (FPA), on December 12. According to the Israeli media, he asked former government minister Yair Lapid: “Is there not a deluded idea here that many Israeli politicians, including yourself, continue to believe that one can talk to the world about democracy, freedom and human rights while denying that to millions of Palestinians, and will there not come a time soon, in a year, five years, 10 years, when you and other politicians will be treated like South African politicians during Apartheid?”You might be also interested in this piece entitled "Trump appoints ex-Israeli settler to oversee peace process".
Sunday, December 25, 2016
We examine some of the early political appointments of the new Trump administration and the geopolitical shift in American foreign policy that it represents. The powers behind the Trump presidency - the Netanyahu Likud connected think-tank, The Foundation for the Defense of Democracies, including General Mike Flynn, Walid Phares; James Woolsey, and Michael Ledeen, among others; an attack on the nuclear deal with Iran; the failed strategy of using radical political Islam to destabilize and destroy countries; a strengthened alliance between Russia, China and Iran; the failed CIA coup in Turkey of July 2016; a strong dollar policy and a weakened European Union; rising interest rates and concomitant flight capital to a Wall Street safe-haven; making America great again by re-building Americas defense industry infrastructure.
The presentation of the Top 25 stories of 2015-2016 extends the tradition originated by Professor Carl Jensen and his Sonoma State University students in 1976, while reflecting how the expansion of the Project to include affiliate faculty and students from campuses across North America has made the Project even more diverse and robust. During this year’s cycle, Project Censored reviewed 235 Validated Independent News stories (VINs) representing the collective efforts of 221 college students and 33 professors from 18 college and university campuses that participate in our affiliate program.
Scientists have calculated the mass of that unnatural achievement called the “technosphere”, demonstrating the scale of human activity that drives climate change. The bleak conclusion is that cities, factories, cars, railways, cameras, computers, ballpoint pens, swords, machine guns and all other manmade things now weigh about 30 trillion tonnes.What is excluded from this otherwise excellent account of "human activity that drives climate change" is the system of capitalism created by a particular socioeconomic class that seized power in the 17 and 18 centuries from feudal authorities. Authors writing for capitalist funded websites (see section "About our funders" on their "About Us" page), publishers, and other media resort to abstractions, as Radford does here, in order to avoid any "controversial" references to a system and class that are really responsible for any significant problems: particularly alarming problems like global warming, widespread pollution, and related health problems. Writers know from their indoctrination and/or experience that such references are verboten if one wants any kind of lucrative career in media (or any line of work).
Under this system the production of 30 trillion tons of stuff created the extremely concentrated wealth and power for capitalists who are only a tiny portion of the Earth's population and left many in dire poverty and powerlessness. The 30 trillion tons was also facilitated by the capitalist sector of advertising in order to create desires for many unnecessary products that make up this huge amount. This concentration of wealth and power has been also facilitated by wars that capitalists love to create because wars not only supercharge their profits, but it destroys things which need to be produced again.