We’ve lived so long under the spell of hierarchy—from god-kings to feudal lords to party bosses—that only recently have we awakened to see not only that “regular” citizens have the capacity for self-governance, but that without their engagement our huge global crises cannot be addressed. The changes needed for human society simply to survive, let alone thrive, are so profound that the only way we will move toward them is if we ourselves, regular citizens, feel meaningful ownership of solutions through direct engagement. Our problems are too big, interrelated, and pervasive to yield to directives from on high.
—Frances Moore Lappé, excerpt from Time for Progressives to Grow Up

Saturday, April 8, 2017

America Illegally Bombs Syria Under False Pretexts. Links for critical thinking. [fake news alert!]

Click here to access observations and insights by various independent authors in relation to the fake news put out by the government and media corporations regarding the recent attack on a Syrian air base. The views are introduced by independent Canadian journalist Eva Bartlett. 

Bartlett writes:
This morning, under the orders of President Trump, the US military fired a reported 59 Tomahawk cruise missiles at an airbase in Syria, killing at least 6, according to early reports. The false pretext for this is the tired old refrain that “Assad used chemical weapons”, a ‘red line crossed claim’ made–and disproven–in 2013 in Ghouta, and in allegations prior and since. Any actual instances were the western-backed ‘rebels’. All others were fabrications of the NATO aligned media and faux human rights groups.
I’ll keep my own commentary short other than to emphasize that I do not believe for one second that the Syrian government used toxic gases on Idlib last week. My reasons are logical and many, but I will list just a few here and continue with suggested reading/listening....

Wilkerson: Trump Attack on Syria Driven by Domestic Politics

This 17:43m video interview is with the former Chief of Staff to Colin Powell, Col. Lawrence Wilkerson which was conducted by Paul Jay of The Real News Network. (I found the audio quality a bit problematic, but nevertheless very interesting.)

Wilkerson has prime connections at high levels of the US military establishment. In this interview he provides his insider views on the recent US strike against a Syrian airbase.
Former Chief of Staff to Colin Powell, Col. Lawrence Wilkerson, tells Paul Jay that the Syrian Government may not be responsible for the chemical attack and that Trump's response was a violation of international law.

Fascism occurs when a desperate capitalist ruling class decides to suspend an even nominal commitment to the rule of (their) law in favor of ruling by decree. Signs of this trend has been appearing under the Obama administration, and now even more-so under Trump's administration. This trend seems to be driven by a frustrated and desperate Ziocon faction (aka "neocons") who see their imperial plans for Syria thwarted by Russian assistance to the Syrian government.  

And here is another article which cites some of the reactions to this latest illegal US military aggression against Syria entitled "After US Cruise Missile Raid in Syria, Russia Suspends Russia – US Security Hotline" from nsnbc international.

Another article that I recommend is a post which includes a 5:13 video is entitled "Russia: Warship Steaming Towards U.S Destroyers In Response To Syrian Strike?" from We Are Change.

As an antidote to this latest war crime, you may very well need to view the following 3:43m video to keep you functioning for the rest of the day. I prescribe the following very timely, but early 1990's performance by the late George Carlin.


Will Washington Risk WW3 to Block an Emerging EU-Russia Superstate [?]

Click here to access article by Mike Whitney (located in my own Washington state) posted on The 4th Media website.

This geopolitical assessment of the emerging ties between Europe and Russia (and China) provides a broader background about the fears that the transnational capitalist deep-state, that rules the Empire, have about this potential relationship. It's "lights out" for the Empire if this happens. Our masters may want to risk a nuclear war to prevent it from happening. Are we going to sit idly by and watch it happen? 
The prospect of Russia meeting more of the EU’s growing energy needs, while China’s high-speed railway system delivers more low-cost manufactured goods, suggests that the world’s center of economic gravity is shifting fast increasing the probability that the US will continue on its path of irreversible decline.

And when the US dollar is inevitably jettisoned as the primary means of exchange between trade partners in the emerging Asia-EU free trade zone, then the recycling of wealth into US debt will drop off precipitously sending US markets plunging while the economy slips into a deep slump.

Preventing Putin from “creating a harmonious community of economies from Lisbon to Vladivostok” is no minor hurtle
[hurdle?] for the United States [and its Empire]. It’s a matter of life and death. 

Caribbean Reparations Movement Must Put Capitalism on Trial

Click here to access article by Ajamu Nangwaya from TeleSur

The author is only referring to slaves used in the British sugar plantations, but the same questions should be asked about US's cotton plantations.
Why is the reparations movement in the Anglophone Caribbean not putting capitalism on trial in its campaign to force British imperialism to provide financial compensation for its industrial and agricultural capitalists’ enslavement of Africans?

To what extent is capitalism such a sacred spirit or god whose name should not be publicly called in order to avoid attracting its vindictive and punishing rebuke?

Are the advocates of reparations truly convinced that British imperialism’s payment of financial compensation for the enslavement of Africans would end the economic marginalization of the labouring classes who are toiling under capitalist regimes throughout the region?

Why are we willing to place racism or white supremacy in the dock but not its creator – capitalism?

Friday, April 7, 2017

Bill O’Reilly and the advertisers’ dilemma

Click here to access article by Jonathan Cook from his blog.

This is a short piece about the morality of our masters in the capitalist class. It's something that we ordinary people endure everyday of our lives to the extent that we simply take it for granted that our master's morality is a fact of existence much like water is to fish. But it really isn't so. It is a reality of living under a capitalist system that was established long ago by people who saw the splendid benefits accruing to them if people accepted the capitalist system. Ordinary people resisted for some time, but soon succumbed to this powerful new class.

Back in, I think, the 16th century adventurers discovered the system while exploring for the monarchs of Europe when the latter wanted to extend their control over other lands and to compete with other European monarchs for power.  The monarchs gave as an incentive to attract adventurers exclusive rights to a big share of the wealth that could be had from the conquering of new lands. Thus we had the Dutch East Indies Company and the British East India Company, etc. Soon after this mostly investors from the aristocracy were soon granted charters (or similar rights) by the monarchs to do likewise. 

The practice soon established a new class of people who overthrew the feudal authorities of monarchs and the landed aristocracies. These people became known as capitalists, and they extended the practice of exclusive rights to produce goods and services by the fiction of "ownership". Instead of simply violently conquering lands that the ancestors of the feudal authorities had done, they saw that the benefits of "ownership"--a method of nearly exclusive rights over property supported in law by the new states they created--could soon increase their wealth and power. Gradually they extended this concept to everything. 

For example, in Britain the lands held in common by subsistence farmers were purchased and cleared of their people because the new "owners" saw the benefits of using the land for sheep raising. Ultimately they converted everything into a commodity that could be bought and sold. Even non-Christian people (which they called "heathens") could be bought and sold. Workers who were Christians, even children, were simply rented by the capitalists in a labor "market" for as long they were needed, or sufficiently productive, to increase their profits. All of this capitalist enterprise was blessed by the new Protestant Christian churches that were more "progressive" minded than the Catholic church which was more wedded to the old feudal authorities.

Today, if we really think about the system as Cook does, and not as a fact of existence, it soon becomes obvious that it is a deeply immoral system that encourages people to commit all kinds of harmful acts on others.
Of course, we all understand that corporations only care about profits, and that in this case they are worried only about the possible damage to their image with women consumers from association with O’Reilly. The battle isn’t about the the truth of O’Reilly’s claims or the women’s. The issue, as presented by the Guardian, is solely about whether Murdoch’s commitment to make money from his association with O’Reilly outweighs the advertisers’ commitment not to lose money from an association with O’Reilly. The stronger profit motive will win out. 
However it is clear from all the other dreadful news (for example, see this) we receive daily that the harmful acts discussed in this article are the least that we should be concerned with. Capitalism, especially as practiced by the US Empire, is literally killing people and nature across the world in wars, famine, and environmental destruction.

‘Philanthropist’ Rockefeller and the hoax of ‘enlightened capitalism’

Click here to access article by Ramin Mazaheri from The Greanville Post. (Thanks go to Caren in northwest Oregon for alerting me to this article.)

The author launches a devastating attack on what is known by various names such as "enlightened capitalist", "conscious capitalism", "conscious business", "enlightened consumers", etc. It is primarily a popular view of capitalism that infects upper middle class people who suffer from the guilt of their active and key support of capitalist enterprises. Without these people the rule of capitalism would collapse within a week. Therefore capitalists like David Rockefeller are aware of their critical role in maintaining their system and class rule, and reward them accordingly. As a result they are co-opted into collaborating with capitalists to exploit workers all over the world, supporting wars to secure control of cheap labor and markets, damaging the environment, off-shoring their profits to evade taxes, etc.

Depending on the critical nature of the role that individual upper middle class people play in maintaining their system, capitalists reward them with salaries and perks far greater than ordinary wage-slave workers. They enjoy the advantages of an independent work style, home ownership, securing higher education for their children, owning a smart new car, enjoying extended vacations, and many other features of a respectable lifestyle. However, they are at least partially conscious that they have made many compromises along the way to achieve such advantages such as doing things which they don't agree with. There are times when some of them feel guilty about this and about having so many advantages over ordinary workers with the result that they adopt such views to justify their support for serving the capitalist system. 

He wraps up his essay with this conclusion:
Working within the capitalist system is never going to work out. Ending the capitalist system, however, is guaranteed to provide the opportunities for the fundamental changes which are needed, and needed now. There is no “enlightened capitalism” on a corporate scale.
And to clarify, there is no going back to earlier stages of the system even if we wanted to--and why would we want to? The logical dynamic of capitalism is for ever increasing concentrations of wealth and power for a tiny class of people.

We're missing the point about the robotization of America's workforce

Click here to access article by economist David Ruccio from Democracy at Work for Economic Justice.

Ruccio sees major problems ahead for the system due to an accelerated introduction of robots. 
Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin may not be worried. Nor, it seems, are other members of the economic and political elite. But the rest of us are—or we should be.

The robots are here and they’re rapidly replacing workers, thus leading to less employment, downward pressure on wages, and even more inequality.

What the Media Isn’t Telling You About Latest Chemical Attack in Syria [or another case of fake news]

Click here to access article by Don Quijones (pseudonym of British ex-pat living in Spain and Mexico) from his blog Rigged Game.
These facts are largely missing from any serious commentary on the most recent attack in Syria. Despite these reports being accessible and available, the world has instead decided to blatantly ignore them and rush to blame Assad once again. It is also worth noting that one of the sources blaming Syria and/or Russia for this attack is the so-called Syrian Observatory for Human Rights (SOHR), an organization run by a single anti-Assad dissident in Coventry, England.
Fake news from media corporations is getting steadily more fake than ever before. How long can we put up with this?

The Silent Cries of Hiding Children: Fifty Years After MLK’s Riverside Church Speech

Click here to access article by Edward Curtin from his blog.
“Liberals,” conservatives. Democrats or Republicans – it makes no difference.  Nixon, Reagan, Bush, Clinton, Bush, Obama, Trump – all killers who are embodiments of the myth of American innocence as the American people play dumb, hiding their heads in the sand as if the world can’t see their asses in the air. Desperate for false hope and phony innocence, they argue over the merits of their favorite killers to justify their complicity in a tradition of war-making where children’s deaths matter no more than Frank Perdue’s dead chickens.

Thursday, April 6, 2017

They're back! White Helmets Report False Sarin Attack

Click here to access a post by Caren Black from her and her partner's website Titanic Lifeboat Academy. (With her permission I am posting this from her website. As you can see, she is using a similar format as my posts by providing a commentary to other posts, but different in that she posts the entire article (or two as in this post of hers). She wrote me regarding this piece:
Hi, Ron,
Since I don't think capitalism can be separated from the propaganda it requires, my post tonight may interest you. In order to get angry enough to get active enough to turn against capitalism, people need to realize the lies that must be built into it. Lies about peoples in other lands who are not capitalist, but more socialist must be constantly and consistently and very vocally proclaimed by a united media front in order to convince our thoroughly indoctrinated populace that Capitalism is The Only Right Way and everyone else is not just wrong, but "evil". No single example of a government caring for its people - building schools and hospitals instead of bombs, building homes instead of surveillance systems, providing health care instead of taxes to fund wars - can be allowed to exist. Syria is just one of the most visible current targets of capitalism.

US Didn’t “Change Priorities” in Syria, It Lost

Click here to access article by Tony Cartalucci from New Eastern Outlook
US Secretary of State Tillerson’s reaffirmation of US policy rolled out during the Obama administration is yet another illustration of “continuity of agenda,” and how special interests on Wall Street, not politicians in Washington, steer US policy at home and abroad and explains how two apparently politically diametrically opposed presidents have maintained virtually the exact same policy over the course of six years and counting.

And while the US clearly lost in its bid to outright overthrow the government of Syria, it continues pursuing an agenda that will divide and destroy the Syrian state through every means available.

The toll of pollution: How many lives vs. how much profit?

Click here to access article by Pete Dolack from his blog Systemic Disorder.
Not only has the Trump administration proposed draconian cuts to the Environmental Protection Agency and signaled its intention to rescind air-pollution rules for motor vehicles scheduled to come into force between 2022 and 2025, it has issued an executive order requiring a “review [of] existing regulations that potentially burden the development or use of domestically produced energy resources and appropriately suspend, revise, or rescind those that unduly burden the development of domestic energy resources.”

One of the targets of this order is the Clean Power Plan....
Dolack sees that capitalism, with its current expression in the Empire's capitalist transnational class and their obsessive pursuit of profit/power for their tiny class, is on a course to destroy human life by destroying our habitat. Because the destruction is so slowly insidious, people don't notice it very much unless they suffer from some environmental illness. 

Far too many people (mostly the upper middle class) are going along to get along, and the lower classes of working people are too brainwashed or confused by all the misinformation, and maybe too preoccupied by just surviving in an increasing hostile capitalist environment, that they simply don't have the energy to resist sufficiently. Meanwhile our masters in the tiny capitalist class are totally preoccupied by their obsessive desire to satisfy their addiction to profits and power while the Doomsday Clock under the Trump administration may be accelerating its movement toward midnight.
The Doomsday Clock is an internationally recognized design that conveys how close we are to destroying our civilization with dangerous technologies of our own making. First and foremost among these are nuclear weapons, but the dangers include climate-changing technologies, emerging biotechnologies, and cybertechnology that could inflict irrevocable harm, whether by intention, miscalculation, or by accident, to our way of life and to the planet.

IMF tells governments how to subvert public resistance against elimination of cash

Click here to access article by German economist Norbert Häring from his blog.

I get the definite impression that the IMP and other agents are currently pushing digital money in Europe.
The International Monetary Fund (IMF) in Washington has published a Working Paper on “de-cashing”. It gives advice to governments who want to abolish cash against the will of their citizenry. Move slowly, start with harmless seeming measures, is part of that advice.

Trump's budget

by Pat Bagley, cartoonist for the Salt Lake City Tribune.

Tuesday, April 4, 2017

Announcement from website administrator

Due to internet connectivity problems, I will not be able to post articles or commentaries today or tomorrow. I expect to be back online on Thursday April 6th.

Monday, April 3, 2017

Afghanistan – ‘Small’ Western Propaganda Lies, Huge Impact

Click here to access article by Andre Vltchek from New Eastern Outlook.
After more than 15 years of brutal Western occupation, Afghanistan appears to be thoroughly ruined. Not only in terms of its infrastructure and standards of living, and not only when it comes to all basic indicators like life expectancy (15th lowest in the world, according to the WHO, 2015) or education: all those things I expected.

But perhaps even more significantly, the country is destroyed morally and intellectually.

The only resistance the West is facing here, comes from extremist groups and movements such as the Taliban and Daesh (ISIS). All intellectual and artistic struggles against the occupation have been destroyed, contained, bought, or frightened into near absolute silence.

While reading this article thoughts entered my mind that what Vltchek was describing occurring in Afghanistan applies to all the world's lands and people who are under US Empire domination--and, that includes the USA! The directorate of the transnational capitalist class at the controls of the Empire have stumbled upon a near perfect way to control much of the planet for their tiny class and those approximately 9% just below them as described in yesterday's post

These are the people who the Empire directors have at great expense trained, thoroughly indoctrinated, and rather lavishly rewarded to staff the key sectors of Afghanistan. The Empire directors use these people as enforcers in the military and police agencies; and key positions in the government, the media, and educational institutions. All the efforts of these thoroughly colonized upper middle class loyally support the dominant capitalist Empire not to improve the living conditions of the people of Afghanistan, but to secure their allegiance to the Empire's transnational capitalists and their obsession with profits, power, and control.  

While reading the article, some rather disturbing questions entered my mind. Should such people not be identified as a colonial comprador class who serve the ruling class of the Empire's transnational capitalists? Isn't that what is precisely happening in the US? Are we ordinary people in the US also not colonial subjects?

Sunday, April 2, 2017

My commentary regarding yesterday's posts by Michael Hudson

by Ron Horn for this website. (Edited for clarity at 4:55 PM Seattle time.)

My dramatic reaction to these articles, but primarily the last post, was probably more of a personal nature. So I wasn't sure how much to share of my reaction with readers of this website. I will now attempt to share of a part of my personal reaction which might be relevant to a larger audience of people who are trying to make sense of the current times. 

My reaction stemmed from a sudden awareness that Hudson was a contemporary of mine. I had previously thought that, judging by appearances, that he was in his late 50s (age). But yesterday I realized that he was 79 and was nearly my age (approaching 81). This set me off in different directions parts of which I think is appropriate to share with my readers. I looked up his biography in Wikipedia, and found that Hudson's father was college educated and is described as a "Trotskyist" during the 1930s in Wikipedia. Then I thought about other scholars who had educated and sometimes radical parents such as Richard Wolff and Naomi Klein (red diaper granddaughter)

In my own university education I ran across professors who sometimes expressed radical ideas. My family was from a rather poor, essentially working/farming class background. I looked up to college professors as sort of godlike figures who were engaged in truth-seeking. I have learned otherwise over the years since then. Many of those in institutions of higher learning are compromised politically by having to conform to capitalist ideas which inform every institution of Western society. People who refuse to do so, are screened out as they succeed (or not) to pass over the ideological hurdles they meet somewhere along the way in their schooling or careers. 

I've often wondered why some academic people use the word "Marxian" instead of "Marxist" with reference to themselves and types of literature. I just learned that this is a way for them to separate themselves as academics purely in pursuit of a study of a subject rather than being an advocate of Marxist ideas. Hence such people are accepted on this basis in academic institutions of higher learning. 

The point I wish to emphasize is that in capitalist societies, pro-capitalist ideas reign supreme while other ideas are merely tolerated if not banished. Education particularly in the United States is comprehensively influenced by capitalist ideas and values that are consistent with the current US-led Empire's ruling class's interests. That means both historical facts and contemporary ideas and values are promoted because capitalism is a culture as well as a political-economic system. Thus people who wish to advance their material interests must subscribe to the tenets of this culture, and it helps if they practice capitalist lifestyles by belonging to the appropriate associations, engage in activities such as golf, are good consumers, etc. People who spend a lot of time getting an advanced education in institutions of higher learning are subject to even longer years of capitalist indoctrination.

So, you may ask, what has this to do with Michael Hudson and his views? I think that Hudson is a perfect example of someone who was strongly influenced by his left-wing roots to hold anti-capitalist ideas, but during the course of his education he correctly decided that to pursue radical ideas was not a good career move. Thus he, and many others like him, gradually conformed by compromising his radical heritage into acceptable ideas of social democracy. You will never find Hudson using any words like "deep state" because he assumes that the official institutions really govern what happens in the US and that the election system and political parties are authentic means of expressing "democracy". Although he is critical of financial institutions and the ways they are distorting industrial capitalism, he does not take issue with the fundamental ideas of capitalism. What informs his many writings is that capitalism can be reformed to eliminate the corrupting influence of financial institutions. 

Thus Hudson points to the FDR administration which accepted many restrictions of banks and supported social welfare measures. What he leaves out is that FDR's administration was confronted by many truly militant organizations that threatened the capitalist system from the political left while on the right he was pulled in a fascist direction much like all the Western capitalist countries were. FDR saved the "democratic" facade that had served the ruling class so well for centuries. Hudson asks:
Where are the New Deal pro-labor, pro-regulatory roots of bygone days?
And he ends the essay with this statement which ties to his political roots:
As Trotsky said, fascism is the result of the failure of the left to provide an alternative.
But Hudson's extolling of Bernie Sanders' politics and his identification of Michael Harrington as a "socialist" is a long way from his roots in his father's Trotskyist ideas of a revolutionary working class. I think his father is likely turning over in his grave.

What I do like about his essay is his opposition to identity politics over class politics. It's just that his class politics doesn't change the system at all, it would only soften it. I think Hudson does this to fool himself into believing that he uphold his father's radical views. You can't stop the logical dynamic of capitalist development into ever larger concentrations of profit and power, and even if you could, why work for such program? Capitalism has never served working people. It has only served the capitalist class and the 9% below the 1%, or the upper middle class which academics and other such radical poseurs are located. If one could suddenly eliminate this highly skilled, educated class stratum, capitalist rule would not last a week.

These are the people that true revolutionary activists need to be concerned about. They often take over activist movements and deflect them from truly revolutionary goals. Like I wrote in my commentary to the above linked-post regarding Eric London's article: 
This writer carves out an important strata in our capitalist structured society known as the upper middle class, a class consisting of about 9% of Americans who lie just below the 1% rich ruling class. These people are identified by sociologists as the upper middle class. London shows how this particular class plays such an important role for the ruling 1%. Malcolm X graphically described the role played by the middle class to a largely African-American audience with a metaphor drawn from an historical context of American slavery that is relevant here: the difference between a house Negro and a field Negro, or the difference between most workers and a special subset of workers who identify with the ruling capitalist class.

London zeros in on the critical role played by the upper middle class (business executives, academics, successful attorneys, professionals, trade union executives and trust fund beneficiaries) in supporting the ruling 1%, and specifically how they have used identity politics (aka "multiculturalism") to successfully divert attention and energies away from class-based political activism. Likewise this class have obscured their own role in perpetuating identity politics by pretending to be left oriented activists. His research shows that this upper-middle class loves and serves their capitalist masters so well and that they have been richly rewarded for their efforts--unlike those classes of workers below them. London concludes his analysis with this political lesson:

The working class comprises the vast majority of the world’s 7 billion inhabitants and produces all of the world’s wealth. It possesses immense potential power. But it can advance its own interests only if it is armed with an anticapitalist and socialist program based on the class struggle. In advancing the slogan for a party of the 99 percent, the pseudo-left is perpetrating a fraud aimed at preventing the development of such a struggle and preserving the capitalist system.

Occupation of the American Mind

Click here to access article which introduces and includes a new 47:29m film by Loretta Alper and Jeremy Earp which depicts the history of the rise of the Jewish state in a land populated by Palestinian Arabs.

After WWII the new capitalist Empire led by the US and what was left of the British Empire combined with Zionist leaders to establish fortress Israel in the middle of Arab territory in order to better secure a base to impose the new Empire's influence over the energy rich region. Since then the ruling capitalist class with close collaboration with Zionist leaders have promoted pro-Israel coverage of events in the region with their media corporations. As a result since the establishment of Israel most Americans have been fed mostly fake news about events in the region.

Climate change pushing floods, cyclones to new extremes, with worse to come

Click here to access article from Climate Code Red (Australia).

Extreme weather events are increasingly evident as our planet heads into the future of man-made climate destabilization. Just this morning I woke to a report from my radio of hundreds of people killed in Colombia due to flooding caused by unusually heavy rains at this time of year.
With Australia experiencing the aftermath of Cyclone Debbie and record-breaking rains and severe flooding in south-east Queensland and along the north coast of New South Wales, here’s a look at how global warming has, and will, push floods and cyclones to new extremes.