As our banner says “Climate change is the symptom, capitalism is the disease and socialism is the cure.” The inherent need for capitalism to constantly seek new markets and expand production and profits is at its core in complete contradiction to a sustainable world. Corporations’ primary concern is to increase their quarterly returns and please shareholders. Any move toward greening their business is often solely for PR purposes and if the “greening” costs more than it gains, it won’t last.
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 22, 2017
This British independent blogger has lived in India for a significant number of years, and saw first hand the destructive influence of large corporations on Indian farmers, farming, and Indian food. In this article commemorating Earth Day, he sums up what he has learned from this experience.
Monsanto and other powerful corporations can only operate as they do because of a framework designed to allow them to capture governments and regulatory bodies, to use the WTO and bilateral trade deals to lever global influence, to profit on the back of US militarism (Iraq) and destabilisations (Ukraine), to exert undue influence over science and politics and to rake in enormous profits.
The World Bank’s ‘Enabling the Business of Agriculture’ and its ongoing commitment to a wholly corrupt and rigged model of globalisation is a further recipe for plunder, corruption and the concentration of power and wealth in the hands of the few.
Street writes about the fake democracy after an election which saw probably the worst choices ever offered to Americans for president of the USA. Both pretended to be for ordinary Americans, but one promised peace and prosperity at home while the other promoted wars abroad to the "evil-doers" du jour (Russia, Putin, Assad, Iran, & North Korean leaders).
Elections are always touted to be the hallmark of democracy by our ruling class pundits--unless, of course, the outcomes, most especially in other countries, do not suit their interests of profit and power. Then they are deemed corrupt. Street shines his light through this dense fog of indoctrination to see the obscene nakedness of our capitalist fake version of democracy. He offers many pearls of wisdom to illustrate the different aspect of this fakery. We people under the control of the transnational capitalist class that governs the US-led Empire are not only subject to fake facts, fake news, and fake history, but also fake democracy.
On April 15th 2017, the people of Kafarya and Foua were attacked, their children mown down deliberately, by a suicide bomb or expolosive detonation, that targeted these innocent children who had been lured to their deaths by NATO and Gulf state terrorists, including Ahrar al Sham and Nusra Front (Al Qaeda). [my link]This British woman who describes herself as an independent researcher, writer and photographer reports on the details of the horrific massacre of 200 civilians, including 116 children. The terrorist armies, two of which committed this crime, are sponsored, organized, supported, and trained by the US-led Empire, Turkey, Israel, and their associated medieval kingdoms of Saudi Arabia, etc, all of which have their own reasons for bringing down the Syrian government.
As far as I know the first terrorist army, the "Contras", was organized in Honduras by government agents of the US to terrorize the people of nearby Nicaragua because they had the temerity of electing a government which pursued independent policies which tried to serve the needs of their people and not corporations. In 1982 on a visit I saw first hand the destruction they wrecked on schools, clinics, and cooperatives organized by the Nicaraguan Sandinista government. After years of terrorist attacks by the Contras, the Nicaraguan people capitulated in the 1990 election which saw the election of people more acceptable to the US's ruling class. From Wikipedia:
After the U.S. Congress prohibited federal funding of the contras in 1983, the Reagan administration nonetheless illegally continued to back them by covertly selling arms to Iran and channeling the proceeds to the contras (the Iran–Contra affair), for which several members of the Reagan administration were convicted of felonies. The International Court of Justice, in regard to the case of Nicaragua v. United States in 1984, found, "the United States of America was under an obligation to make reparation to the Republic of Nicaragua for all injury caused to Nicaragua by certain breaches of obligations under customary international law and treaty-law committed by the United States of America". During the war between the contras and the Sandinistas, 30,000 people were killed.
In the Nicaraguan general election, 1990, a coalition of anti-Sandinista parties (from the left and right of the political spectrum) led by Violeta Chamorro, the widow of Pedro Joaquín Chamorro Cardenal, defeated the Sandinistas. The defeat shocked the Sandinistas, who had expected to win. Commentators such as Noam Chomsky and Brian Willson attributed the outcome to the U.S.-contra threats to continue the war if the Sandinistas retained power, the general war-weariness of the Nicaraguan population, and the abysmal Nicaraguan economic situation.Ruling class agents of the US learned the usefulness of such terrorist armies from this experience and together with their allies in the Mid-East are using various terrorist armies to bring down the Syrian government because they too do not serve the needs of the Empire and their collaborators in crime. Similar terrorist armies have been used by Empire agents in Afghanistan, Libya, and elsewhere to a lessor extent to overturn intimidate governments and breakup nations.
Friday, April 21, 2017
This is posted on a leading worldwide environmental website that is based in Australia. The post illustrates how some environmentalists, preoccupied by climate destabilization as a threat to humans, recognize that capitalism is driving us to extinction, but refuse to name the system.
Thus the author recognizes the scale of the concern with passages like this;
There is an enormous (and currently unbridgeable) lag between the pace of political, economic and technological change and the rapid (non-negotiable) rate of climate change.I think they do this out of fear for their careers especially private industry and government, with this caution maybe less so compelling in academia. Although you will find numerous circumlocutions like consumerism and "political and economic frameworks", you will not find a single reference to capitalism. This in itself is a manifestation of the power of capitalists to control discourse on a subject which casts even doubts about the system, much less that it must be removed and replaced with a sustainable system to prevent cataclysmic climate destabilization.
To ensure safe outcomes the global economy will have to be rapidly restructured. This will require a massive response similar in scale and urgency to the Allied effort in World War II. However, at this time strong international action is a distant dream.
Most experts assume that even under the most optimistic scenarios aggregate emissions will increase until mid-century, pushing global temperatures far past international goals. The hope is that this overshoot will be corrected over time with as yet undeveloped technologies for carbon capture and storage.
A small village in Spain recognized that change was needed in order for them to survive, and they did something about it. But they also recognized the necessity for the creation of a wider system change. (Note: 1200 hectares equals nearly 3000 acres.) So, are you going to take part in the creation of a new system, or remain passive; and by doing so, actually support the existing system of capitalism?
Foster starts out this lengthy read published in the hard copy of Monthly Review by assessing the citizens that voted for Trump and his continuing base of support (which according to polls is declining). I skipped this section and focused on the seventh paragraph down to the subheading "The Trumpist Gleichschaltung". In this section of his paper Foster concentrates on the close relationship between capitalism and fascism that is missing from most of the current articles regarding the re-appearance of fascism in the current period.
Here it is vital to understand that fascism is not in any sense a mere political aberration or anomaly, but has historically been one of two major modes of political management adopted by ruling classes in the advanced capitalist states.17 Since the late nineteenth century, capitalist states, particularly those of the major imperial powers, have generally taken the form of liberal democracy—representing a kind of equilibrium between competing social sectors and tendencies, in which the capitalist class, by virtue of its control of the economy, and despite the relative autonomy accorded to the state, is able to assert its hegemony. Far from being democratic in any egalitarian sense, liberal democracy has allowed considerable room for the rise of plutocracy, i.e., the rule of the rich; but it has at the same time been limited by democratic forms and rights that represent concessions to the larger population.18 Indeed, while remaining within the boundaries of liberal democracy, the neoliberal era since the 1980s has been associated with the steepest increases in inequality in recorded history.The "liberal" in the phrase "liberal democracy" (or the capitalist form of democracy) is the classical meaning of liberal, and must be distinguished from the current popular meaning that is defined by the concept of "social liberalism" which (like social democracy) presumes the existence of capitalism.
Liberal democracy is not, however, the only viable form of rule in advanced capitalist states. In periods of systemic crisis in which property relations are threatened—such as the Great Depression of the 1930s, or the stagnation and financialization of recent decades—conditions may favor the rise of fascism. Moreover, then as now, fascism is invariably a product of the larger context of monopoly capital and imperialism, related to struggles for hegemony within the capitalist world economy. Such a crisis of world hegemony, real or perceived, fosters ultra-nationalism, racism, xenophobia, extreme protectionism, and hyper-militarism, generating repression at home and geopolitical struggle abroad. Liberal democracy, the rule of law, and the very existence of a viable political opposition may be endangered.
Fosters continues on in the article to distinguish between the classical form of fascism that existed in the 1930s with the neofascism of today, and more specifically the fascist features of the Trump administration.
Bernie Sanders is continuing his role as sheepherder to guide discontented American sheeple away from any ideas that threaten the capitalist Empire and the transnational ruling class that supports it.
The divisions that exist within the Democratic Party between the “Obama-Clinton wing” and the “Sanders-Warren wing” are over tactics, not principle. They all serve to uphold the political domination of the capitalist two-party system.
This has been proven in the trajectory of Sanders’ political career over the last two years. The senator from Vermont, by calling himself a socialist, demanding a “political revolution” and attacking the billionaire class, tapped into the enormous amount of discontent in the working class and was able to win 13 million votes in the primary. In this he was aided by a wide array of upper-middle-class organizations that orbit around the Democratic Party.
What happened to Sanders’ “political revolution”?
Thursday, April 20, 2017
This is the most accurate general appraisal of the transnational capitalist class (TCC) that is the driving force behind so many wars and economic attacks on workers throughout the world that I've seen in some time. This professor of sociology backs up his observations with links to solid sources. I only differ with his conclusion.
... behind the Trump regime and the Pentagon, the TCC seeks to sustain global accumulation through expanding militarization, conflict, and repression. This gives a built-in war drive to the current course of capitalist globalization. Only a worldwide push back from below, and ultimately a program to redistribute wealth and power downward, can counter the upward spiral of international conflagration.This very mild conclusion is not supported by the excellent content he provides. I suspect that he is compromising himself here because he must not antagonize the agents of the ruling class in California if he wants to continue his career as sociology professor at UC-Santa Barbara. I don't fault him for this because we all must make compromises to powerful figures in the ruling class to survive, and in his case, to thrive by exposing the oppressive capitalist regime that affects us all.
There will be no redistribution of "wealth and power downward" like we (or our parents and grandparents) saw to a very limited extent in the Great Depression of the 1930s. And then restoration of the economy was not due to FDR's policies, but to WWII. (Even my very uneducated mother knew and told me this in 1946 when I was 10 years old.) And we are likely headed for another conflagration which promises to be far worse, if not terminal for humans.
No, only a revolutionary movement capable of ridding ourselves of these capitalist monsters, their upper-middle class collaborators, and their hideous self-serving system of capitalism can save us.
I watched with disgust this report in last night's evening news. The author is absolutely correct when he/she stated "There are no real journalist[s] on the corporate media any more ....". They may have degrees in journalism, but they serve as well-paid agents for the ruling class's propaganda apparatus. Fake news reports are now becoming a daily staple of media corporations.
Here’s CBS again doing its usual job of disinforming and under-reporting by using severely compromised, scandalously biased or ignorant sources, while never offering their huge megaphone to anyone with a scintilla of “dissident truth” or actual knowledge about the topics they supposedly cover. So the nation and the world are inching toward a possible deadly confrontation for countless people, who do you call as an expert witness, a guy who has been the Democrats/CIA point man stoking the fires of Russiagate, none other than California Rep. Adam Schiff, a Democrat who also happens to boast impeccable Neocon/Zionist credentials.
Jimmy Dore: “…They’re not outraged at the terrorist butcher who lured children with food, then blew them up?” #West’s ‘rebels’ slaughter #Foua #Kafraya children
After this independent Canadian journalist clarifies all the groups which are included in the terrorist armies funded, organized, and trained by the US, Saudi Arabia and their Persian Gulf allies like Qatar, and Israel, she praises and introduces an excellent 19:11m video of a commentary by Jimmy Dore on his show that castigates media corporations for their reports on the latest terrorist incident in Syra, and in general about events in the region. Jimmy Dore provides a prime example of how media corporations issue fake news about real terrorist events in order to hide America's complicity in these crimes.
The folks who work with PLA are currently running a series of reports that expose the interests behind various pipeline constructions that are presently occurring, or have occurred in the recent past, in order to provide the details of the capitalist interests behind these projects.
I've only perused this report, but it is obvious to me that there is considerable collaboration among banking, construction corporations, and their hired lobby organizations in Washington DC to accomplish these projects regardless of the opposition of residents in the affected areas. This report, in particular, illustrates how capitalist institutions and their agents cooperate, collude, and conspire to rake in huge profits in spite of the concerns of the people regarding the pipelines' deleterious impacts on the local environments and the broader destabilization of our climate. This destruction of habitat is caused by a system designed for the sole benefit of a tiny class of people who over the centuries of capitalism's existence have become so addicted to the "highs" of profit and power that they no longer concern themselves with the disastrous consequences of their drug habits.
To me this report illustrates another feature of a capitalist society which I've noticed for many years. Although capitalists often do compete with each other over profitable economic opportunities, they much more often cooperate with one another to exploit opportunities to make money irregardless of the consequences on the rest of society and/or the environment. This phenomenon is in sharp contrast to workers and sub-groups within society who are encouraged to compete or fight each other over the "trickle" that is left over after the capitalist class reap their rewards.
Wednesday, April 19, 2017
Our capitalist world seems mired in crisis, beset by low growth and instability. Immanuel Wallerstein, the father of world-systems theory, argues that the current malaise goes beyond the periodic fluctuations of the business cycle. According to him, capitalism’s days are numbered: in 20 to 40 years it will be gone. What replaces it may be something better or something worse. Wallerstein discusses the end of capitalism, as well as resistance to Donald Trump and the recent attack on Syria.Wallerstein's initial remarks, which I managed to listen to (I'm short of time this morning), were rather abstract, but I think he becomes clearer later on. I do not like to post articles or interviews without having read or listened to them entirely, but I think this has merit.
I listened to enough to realize that he sees a future human existence in some form or other, but I think as I've argued before that this is not a valid assumption. In fact, I think that it is likely that humans will become extinct either through nuclear wars or climate destabilization to a point that the biosphere will no longer support human life.
Communities across the Western U.S. and Canada may have to adapt to living with the ever-increasing threat of catastrophic wildfires as global warming heats up and dries out forests across the West, according to a University of Colorado study published Monday.
Residents living in neighborhoods adjacent to forests — known as “wildland-urban interface” zones — will have to accept that many wildfires may have to be allowed to burn and that building new homes in fire-prone forests should be discouraged, the study says.
Firefighters and policymakers will also have to adapt in new ways as catastrophic wildfires burn more land and destroy more homes than ever before.
Tuesday, April 18, 2017
Cumings is America's foremost historian on Korea in the modern era. (read the above Wikipedia link) As such he knows of what he writes about North Korea in this article which provides details about their weapons program in recent decades in relation to US concerns.
North Korea is the only country in the world to have been systematically blackmailed by US nuclear weapons going back to the 1950s, when hundreds of nukes were installed in South Korea. I have written much about this in these pages and in the "Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists". Why on earth would Pyongyang not seek a nuclear deterrent? But this crucial background doesn’t enter mainstream American discourse. History doesn’t matter, until it does—when it rears up and smacks you in the face.For a much needed (for Americans) full history of US-Korean history of relations, I highly recommend that you read at least volume 1 of Cumings' 2 volume book entitled The Origins of the Korean War.
Russian Defence Minsitry: No one has asked for antidotes or medicines around location of alleged Idlib chemical attack
A puzzling new development has emerged in the aftermath of the alleged chemical weapons incident in Syria’s Idlib Governorate from the 4th of April.This is likely because ISIS is using chlorine gas as weapons just like they did in Iraq in an incident recently reported by Newsweek. I've read several reports in which eye-witnesses claimed the Syrian Air Force bombed the Khan Shaykhun ISIS facility which apparently was being used to manufacture these weapons. Thus, ISIS leaders and their CIA collaborators likely saw that this incident could be exploited as a false flag attack to cast blame on the Syrian government for using chemical weapons. (Note that the Newsweek report did not connect the two incidents.)
Since the incident, apparently no one in the Khan Shaykhun area in question has asked for any antidotes for exposure to toxic sarin gas, the chemical allegedly deployed on the 4th of April.
"The more things change, the more they remain the same." No one occupies the While House without being under the influence of the major power center (the ruling capitalist class) of the US.
Public Citizen’s analysis of news reports and White House press releases reveals the astonishing degree to which outside corporate executives have swamped President Donald Trump’s White House.
According to news reports and White House press releases, since his inauguration, President Trump has met with at least 190 corporate executives – averaging more than two a day. Counting repeat attendees, he has had at least 222 corporate executive meetings.
This professor of history at the University of Montreal provides a very accurate review of the initial stage of the Russian Revolution of 1917, the most pivotal event of the 20th century, which occurred precisely 100 years ago. The event spread panic among the ruling capitalist classes across continental Europe, the US, and the entire British Empire. You can't have a reasonably accurate understanding of major subsequent events if you don't have an understanding of this revolution. Carley provides that in his description of the first stage of the revolution in this scholarly, but concise article.
(The scholarly features include showing dates from both our calendar and the Julian calendar, and using several foreign or more obscure words/expressions to which I've offered translations: "koshmar", "flagging", and "calendes grecques" became a colloquial expression for postponing something forever.)
This was the beginning of the period of so-called "dual power". The Petrograd Soviet would not take power directly, but in effect would govern indirectly, acting as a sentinel of the revolutionary masses and "usurping" government authority, as western diplomats saw it. Dual power was a formula for chaos especially since the Provisional Government represented traditional tsarist elites, and the Soviets, the revolutionary masses. In fact, the Provisional Government had no popular base at all. Not even the Imperial Duma could buttress it, Ambassador Paléologue reported, for the Duma "had disappeared". The Petrograd Soviet is now "the parliament of all Russia". Hence, if there was "dual power" in Russia, it tilted heavily to the side of the new Soviets.
The two big issues in the spring of 1917 were peace and land redistribution.
Monday, April 17, 2017
This renowned Canadian international criminal lawyer concludes this essay with an insightful comment and final question regarding US aggression:
...the real tragedy of the American action is that it once again proves that the modern era is a wild and apparently aimless struggle between all that is noblest and all that is basest in our common humanity. International law is trampled under American army boots. The United Nations is reduced to a circus in which the Americans and British play destructive clowns. The governments of the NATO war alliance, by their support of the American actions, lies, threats and bullying, are members of a criminal conspiracy to rule the world through brute force. The western news media are reduced to propaganda units of the NATO military forces and the people in general have, through a constant barrage of false information, manipulation, fear, bigotry, and a general ignorance of history and other peoples, become willing dupes of this machine.
Here in Canada the government and press proclaim their slavering support for the American war crimes, and are glorifying the useless slaughter of the First World War as the nation’s “defining moment.” Not the linking of the nation from Atlantic to Pacific by a great railway built at great human cost, nor the defeat of the American invasion in 1812, nor the defeat of the fascists in 1945; no, for they have become the fascists and relish the symbols of death, of slaughter, and all but worship war as our destiny and the death of others as a beautiful thing.
Frankly, I am tired of the debate whether Trump, the new Duce, has “sold out” or been compromised by the war faction in the United States. I think it was clear from the beginning that he would be as destructive as the rest of their leaders. Does it really matter any longer what leader is in charge of the United States?
Could it be that the professor is engaging in sarcasm as he begins and concludes his essay with these remarks?
- What a difference a century makes, eh?
- So that’s what happened back in 1917, when Americans were so much easier to jerk around than we are.
A prominent anti-war activist based in California highlighted the US support for the war crimes committed by the Saudi-led coalition in Yemen and said Washington is “the major funder” of Riyadh’s bombardment of civilians in the Arabian Peninsula country.The fact that most Americans have taken to the streets over feminist issues and anti-Trump demonstrations shows the power of the ruling class directorate to guide Americans away from concerns over the wars that Americans are supporting in so many parts of the world and onto social identity issues. Simultaneously it illustrates how another prominent anti-war leader's influence can be so effectively neutralized by the directorate's opinion-shapers in media corporations. This situation also illustrates that most Americans listen to and believe the talking heads on TV and are convinced by corporate provided information that reverberates throughout social media. (Manufacturing Consent by Herman and Chomsky remains a classic study of this phenomenon.)
“The United States is playing a very important role in supporting Saudi Arabia in these war crimes,” Cindy Lee Miller Sheehan said in an interview with the Tasnim News Agency.
“Saudi Arabia plays a pivotal role in the region in making sure the oil keeps flowing to the United States, so in response, the US is allowing the Saudi murderous regime to perpetrate these crimes against the Yemeni people,” she added.
"I think his (Trump’s) action was less determined to send a message to (Vladimir) Putin and Xi (Jinping) than to relieve domestic political pressure," Washington-based political analyst James Jatras said in an interview with the Tasnim News Agency.
"He (Trump) knew that if he even questioned supposed intelligence that concluded, without any investigation, with ‘a high level of confidence’ it was Assad, he would bring down on his head another avalanche of criticism," he noted.
It seems that the makers of the science fiction film "The Matrix" were prophetic. Much of life in the USA today resembles what was portrayed in the film. We only need Soylent Green for food, and likely Monsanto and Cargill Inc. will soon provide that.
Sunday, April 16, 2017
Martin explains the history of the rise capitalist empires in the modern era leading up to the US-led Empire that rules much of the world today.
Wikileaks in a tweet pointed to the latest major piece of fake news issued by the Empire's central government.
The tunnels used in Afghanistan by the Islamic State group that were blown up on Thursday by the world's most powerful non-nuclear bomb were built by the CIA, according to whistleblowing organization WikiLeaks.
The U.S. is counting on a long-term abundance of oil & natural gas: But what if the boom is just a bubble?
Despite recent declines in oil and natural gas production, Americans continue to be told that the United States is destined to have growing supplies of both, thanks to the widespread use of horizontal drilling and hydraulic fracturing (“fracking”). This “shale revolution,” we’re told, will fundamentally change the U.S. energy picture for decades to come....