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, June 3, 2017

The Coup, Then and Now – The Enemies of Humanity Try to Give Trump the JFK Treatment

Click here to access article by Anton Chaitkin from The Saker.  (a "best post" and edited at 8:23 PM Seattle time) Thanks go to Christopher from northwest Oregon for alerting me to this article.

I regard this lengthy piece as providing the best online history of the rise of the current US-led Empire that began in WWII to where it is today: a major threat to humanity. I know a lot about this history which encompasses most of my life, and Chaitkin's review of it matches and exceeds what I already know. 

Although Trump's life is very much in danger, I don't regard him as being in a place where he could, like Kennedy, have any kind of positive influence on either national or international events. He is simply too uninformed to do that. Thus I am not worried about his assassination (or more likely impeachment), but I do worry about our future as humans. The loss of Trump will not be anything like the loss of Kennedy regarding the potential impact on our lives. Unlike Kennedy, Trump has no principles other than acquiring more wealth and power; and, as he is doing now, he will bend before the real powers in Wall Street and their powerful military and secret services to preserve his power. The only question is: will he bend sufficiently to placate the ruling class directorate.

I am convinced that only a grass-roots based revolution has the possibility of saving us. We must not look to any leader to save us--and certainly not Trump. We must save ourselves.

Friday, June 2, 2017

A revolutionary model - part 2b

by Ron Horn

The primary commitment by all people involved in the project must be the production of accurate information and analyses to the general public. Such information must serve our vital need to understand issues that are not only directly confronting us and our families in our daily lives, but larger issues of national and international scope which have very indirect but often profound effects on our lives. The following proposal is aimed to serve that precise purpose. Note that the proposal is based on the assumption that the world wide web and the internet still exists in a form that facilitates the communication of both mundane matters and important news and ideas, and is easily accessed by all. If we can't protect the open web and internet from decisively favoring websites of media corporations, then I fear all is lost.

Many activists have now learned that the main purpose of mainstream media corporations exist to serve only to serve the interests of the Empire's transnational capitalist ruling class. These interests are directly imposing economic disasters on our lives within our borders, and threatening a nightmarish nuclear conflagration abroad. Their media corporations serve the ruling class by distorting news and information about economic and political events both within our nation and abroad, most dangerously with fake news about their foreign military and subversive activities across the world. The sole purpose of their media are to frame events so that the general public are compliant with, if not supportive of, their activities. Participants must engage in this project with the utmost dedication in spite of knowing that this directly interferes with the agenda of the ruling class to keep the general public ignorant of their real activities.

A critical first step to realizing this project would be that the existing small alternative news and analysis services (existing mostly on the web) must decide to share their resources to build this project with the clear understanding that the new organization would be adopting a bottom-up authority structure. People involved in this information project must understand the overwhelming importance of collaborating rather than competing over turf that they might control. (Such individualist thinking belongs to capitalist rule, not to rule by and for all of the people.) They also will need to understand this new bottom-up arrangement and the accountability structure of the different players in this new organization, and how it relates to the growing number of activist supporters in the general public. 

But first, let us look at the familiar arrangement of media corporations: the powerless 95% who currently reside at the bottom as consumers of information, the 4.9% that I estimate consist of variously skilled workers of the upper-middle class and middle class who serve the managers appointed by the ruling capitalist class. Finally the capitalist ruling class (owners of the media) who are approximately .1% of the population exercise control over their media enterprises like any other enterprise--to make money, but much more importantly, to impose their views and values on, and to manage the consent/dissent of, the general population.

The business model for media corporations is based mostly on economic support by the general business community directly through selling ads for their products and services, and indirectly by posting information and editorials that support the interests of the existing capitalist class; whereas subscriptions by the general public often only sustain the cost of printing. Hence, mainstream media's obligation is primarily to serve the interests of the general business community, and most of all, to support the interests of major capitalists in banking and large owners of shares in major corporations (the ruling capitalist class).

For a variety of very good reasons I propose that we construct the organization of this new media service by reversing our perspective from the traditional one (top-down arrangement of authority) to the new bottom-up arrangement. After we adopt this perspective, it follows that we need to identify the new components of the media service in order to be clear as to how it functions. Because this is so new and radically different from what we are accustomed to, many people will have a hard time imagining this. But I argue that there is, indeed, no alternative if we are serious about living in peace and protecting our Mother Earth that sustains all living things.

So who would be the "bottom" (that is, those holding ultimate power) of this new bottom-up management system? It seems obvious to me that we, the people, must support this new enterprise if it is going to overcome the many obstacles that the ruling class will pose for it. We can do this in a variety of ways: through funding, volunteer activities, and other forms of support. Conceptually speaking, we must regard ourselves as a critically important part of the organization--because we realistically must be. However, the concrete power structure would be something like the following.

The foundation (or bottom) of this potentially revolutionary media movement would be local media committees consisting of mostly lay community activists and supporters, and these local media committees would have the authority to hire and fire the journalists in the local media organization. These local media organizations would, in turn, exercise responsibility and authority over media organizations that covered news, information, and opinion regarding international matters. This is only a rough sketch that would qualify as one implementation of the principles of bottom-up authority. There are many other creative ways we could imagine.

Because the capitalist class would obviously be hostile to this new media organization, it is imperative that journalists would have to be very actively supported by us. In addition to funding and volunteering, community activists could organize "support circles" who would actively and publicly support journalists supplemented by others around the world who like their work. These people would be listed on the organization's website as their supporters. Other methods that public members could use to support them would be the provision of board and room when they travel to the communities of their supporters, etc.

This radically new model may run into practical realities of dealing with legal authorities of the ruling capitalist class. The model is totally contrary to capitalist organizations and thus the arrangement might have difficulties being enforced by capitalist legal institutions if challenged in their courts. However, it must be understood that any profoundly revolutionary model would encounter similar problems. We would simply have to find a way to work around this potential problem. And in any case, we would be faced with a multitude of problems from the ruling capitalist class once the new media enterprise becomes operational. (I will be discussing these issues in Part 3.)

(Next in Part 3, Problems and Possibilities)

Gaslighting: State Mind Control and Abusive Narcissism

Click here to access article by Vanessa Beely from 21st Century Wire
Gaslighting as an abuser’s modus operandi, involves, specifically, the withholding of factual information and its replacement with false or fictional information designed to confuse and disorientate. This subtle and Machiavellian process eventually undermines the mental stability of its victims reducing them to such a depth of insecurity and identity crisis that they become entirely dependent upon their abuser for their sense of reality and even identity.

Gaslighting involves a step by step psychological process to manipulate and destabilize its victim.  It is built up over time and consists of repetitive information feeds that enter the victim’s subconscious over a period of time, until it is fully registered on the subconscious “hard disk” and cannot be overridden by the conscious floppy disk.  Put more simply, it is brainwashing.

Thursday, June 1, 2017

Buying a Slave – The Hidden World of US/Philippines Trafficking

Click here to access article from Media Roots.

The article furnishes an excellent introduction to a 25:09 video (included) produced and narrated by Abby Martin. 
The Philippines has a long and unfortunate history of colonization and being used by the superpowers of the world. The Filipino people are now suffering the consequences of such a challenging legacy- underdevelopment, high unemployment, and constantly worsening poverty. This legacy has led to an unusual phenomenon- a shocking 10% of the Philippine population must leave the country in order to seek employment in hopes of sending money back to their families. An estimated 6,000 people, mostly women, leave the Philippines daily to seek work.

.... Unfortunately ... many of these migrant workers have become victims of human trafficking and have found themselves stuck in a seemingly endless cycle of abuse and neglect. 

Repressing Pipeline Protests

Click here to access this 39:40 minute interview with investigative journalist Will Parrish conducted by Sasha Lilly of KPFA in Berkeley, California. (Note: this is followed by an interesting interview with Cassie Helgerson for the balance of the program.)
The fight against the Dakota Access Pipeline led to a remarkable level of protest and solidarity, bringing together native people from all over North America, as well as their allies.  It also witnessed a remarkable level of repression.  Investigative journalist Will Parrish discusses leaked documents that expose the role of a private security firm TigerSwan, experienced in counterterrorism, and its surveillance and infiltration of protestors. And [at 39:40m] water protector Cassie Standing Bear Helgerson discusses other threats to water in the Great Lakes Region.
I want to direct attention especially to Parrish's examination of the DAPL resistance movement and the methods used by the US police state's repression of the protests. There is much to be learned about the ruling capitalist class's strategies in suppressing any opposition that confronts the interests of their corporations. 

After 9/11 the ruling class put in place many new elements of this oppressive police structure including fusion centers, using private security agencies, and surveillance of social media. These new features were added to the traditional methods our ruling class has used to suppress popular opposition such as manipulation of corporate media to issue reports to keep us in ignorance about the real issues involved, and issuing reports that support the oppressive actions of their police forces.

Also for those who are interested in the police state methods used to against DAPL resistors, I highly recommend a report issued today by Unicorn Riot entitled "DAPL Security Leak Shows Coordinated Surveillance and Repression of Water Protectors". 

Wednesday, May 31, 2017

Islamic State in Asia: Saudi-Funding and Naive Policymakers Endanger Region

Click here to access article by Joseph Thomas from New Eastern Outlook.
It is well within the means of US and European intelligence and security agencies to establish a direct link between terrorism and Saudi funding. What is lacking is the political will to do so.
It's not merely the political will to do so, it's active collaboration with the Saudis to create terrorist events to distract attention away from the imperialist crimes of the US-led Empire, to make their people so fearful that they will turn to Empire authorities for protection and permit governments allied to the Empire to curtail civil liberties.

Tuesday, May 30, 2017

 How the 1989 War on Manuel Noriega’s Panama Super-Charged US Militarism

Click here to access article by Greg Grandin from The Nation. (updated on June 1st, 10:45 AM Seattle time)

The news of Manuel Noriega's recent death stirred up a lot of bad memories about the sordid actions of ex-CIA chief and then President H. W. Bush and the complicity of America's media corporations. In the 1980s I was very politically aware of, and active to oppose, all the secret wars the US was involved in trying to control governments in Central America. I am referring to El Salvador where the US supported a government and paramilitary that was engaged in terrorizing dissidents, murdered nuns and Archbishop Romero. 

I am also referring to the ongoing attempt to overthrow the very popular Sandinista government in Nicaragua. I remember working hard in organizations that led to the 1984 Boland Amendment that prohibited the government from giving any kind of military aid to US's terrorist army known as the Contras that were based in nearby Honduras. Up until then they had been funded and organized by the CIA to terrorize civilians and the staff working at the popular health clinics and schools in Nicaragua in an effort to overturn the government. (Does this sound familiar?) I personally saw some of the destroyed clinics and talked with several American lay Catholic workers who confirmed the reports of these actions.

Noriega's death brought back so many other memories like the Iran-Contra hearings which revealed a lot, but suppressed a lot more of the CIA's dirty deeds. The CIA carried on its dirty deeds in El Salvadore and Nicaragua with funding from mainly three sources: selling arms to Iran, diverting foreign aid destined to Israel and other countries, and the lucrative drug trade which were imported into the ghettos of the US. This is where Noriega was useful. While on the CIA payroll, he played an important role in support of the US by actions by facilitating drug trafficking. He had close relations with drug czar Pablo Escobar of Columbia. But at a certain point he apparently balked at providing more of such services, and H. W. Bush angered by this insubordination, decided to take him out by invading Panama.

But I won't burden you with the whole story. Grandin does a good job summarizing these events. If you really want to learn more about not only the realities but what corporate media provided as fake news to US readers, I've listed the following links (in chronological order):
  • http://www.history.com/this-day-in-history/the-u-s-invades-panama
  • http://fair.org/extra/how-television-sold-the-panama-invasion/
  • http://www.nytimes.com/1990/01/04/world/noriega-s-surrender-overview-noriega-gives-himself-up-us-military-flown-florida.html
  • http://articles.latimes.com/1991-10-04/news/mn-3423_1_medellin-cartel
  • https://library.cqpress.com/cqalmanac/document.php?id=cqal85-1147212#H2_9
  • http://www.nytimes.com/1992/07/11/us/noriega-sentenced-to-40-years-in-jail-on-drug-charges.html
  • http://www.nytimes.com/1992/07/11/us/noriega-sentenced-to-40-years-in-jail-on-drug-charges.html
  • http://www.nytimes.com/1992/12/12/opinion/manuel-noriega-prisoner-of-war.html
  • https://www.theguardian.com/world/2017/may/30/general-manuel-noriega-feared-panamanian-dictator-cia-asset
  • https://www.nytimes.com/2017/05/30/world/americas/manuel-antonio-noriega-dead-panama.html
  • http://www.aljazeera.com/indepth/opinion/2016/01/truth-operation-panama-160131085323562.html 
Also on June 1st I added the following article entitled "The Panama Deception" which includes a very interesting 1:31:09 video by the same name.  

The CIA’s Cloddish ISIS Attack on Duterte

Click here to access article by F. William Engdahl from New Eastern Outlook
The terrorist siege in Marawi City is blatantly a desperate Washington try to topple the very popular (80% popularity in polls) Duterte, who successfully won the Presidency last June over a US-backed Mar Roxas, a US-educated former Wall Street banker. Since taking office Duterte has made bold and quite courageous steps to steer the former US Colony towards a Eurasian alliance with China and Russia as his major supporters. In Beijing in October last year, Duterte met China’s Xi Jinping and signed numerous trade deals with China. ....

Since then Duterte has sought closer ties with Russia as well, in a further effort to bring his nation out from under the yoke of a de facto US control. This does not sit well with the circles of the so-called Deep State in Washington –the CIA and their nefarious friends. Should the US lose the Philippines, it would pose a devastating strategic geopolitical loss to the US military containment strategy against China and Russia in the Pacific. Devastating.
One might fault Engdahl for making allegations without providing sufficient supporting evidence, but how many decades of experience with Empire-funded "terrorist" armies with after-the-fact supporting documentation do we need that to verify the role played by the CIA and other Western secret agencies? Empire strategists discovered long ago the usefulness of terrorist armies to serve the Empire's interests by toppling uncooperative governments abroad, and using domestic "terrorist" events to suppress opposition at home to their policies. I have followed the writings of Engdahl for at least 10 years and I trust his analyses far more than than reports from media corporations all of which serve the criminal gang of capitalist ruling classes of the Empire.

Monday, May 29, 2017

Vanessa Beely On White Helmets, Syria with Sane Progressive Interview

"Debbie" of Progressive Interview channel of YouTube interviews one of my favorite independent investigative journalists, Vanessa Beely, a Brit who has traveled extensively in the Middle East especially in the hot spots of Syria and Gaza. Because I have already posted a lot of material about the While Helmets who are sponsored by an NGO, I am posting this primarily because of Beely's opening general remarks about NGOs and how they are tied in with the capitalist ruling class to promote their geopolitical interests abroad. (You will also learn that she has connections with two other of my favorites-- Eva Bartlett and Cory Morningstar.) If you want to skip the opening attempts by Debbie while she rigs up the necessary computer connections amidst friendly giggles between the two women, I advise you to listen from 3:05 to 11:17 in which Beely gives a very succinct, but clear understanding of the role of many such NGOs. 

Sunday, May 28, 2017

An inside look at Bernie Sanders’s role in the Democratic Party primaries (parts 1 and 2)

Click here to access this book review by Eric London from World Socialist Web Site.

London reviews a book entitled Shattered: Inside Hillary Clinton’s Doomed Campaign by Jonathan Allen and Amie Parnes. The book reveals how the capitalist ruling class's fake version of democracy actually worked during the primaries when confronted with a candidate that feigned a social democratic (not a "socialist) political platform.
Shattered conveys the sense of genuine concern in the Clinton campaign following each major Sanders victory, especially the New Hampshire primary in February and the Michigan primary in March. After each defeat, the Clinton campaign and the Democratic Party were confronted by their own unpopularity and by a groundswell of opposition from working class voters and youth.

“We should have figured out a way to deal with Bernie earlier,” Clinton told her staff after losing the New Hampshire primary. A debate emerged within the campaign, with one side, led by Bill Clinton, arguing that the campaign was ignoring questions of social inequality and would drive working class voters away.

The overwhelming majority of Clinton strategists and Democratic Party operatives ignored Bill Clinton’s proposals. ....

The decision to focus more intently on identity politics was taken to allow Clinton to build a voting base centered among wealthier voters, so as to ensure that she would not be obligated to issue any proposals for social reform that might turn off her backers in the financial aristocracy and the wealthiest 10 percent of the population.
In the second part of this two part series entitled "The Democratic Convention, anti-Russian hysteria, and Clinton’s concession" the book reveals the juicy details of how the Democratic party operatives and the Sanders camp colluded to keep a lid on a potential explosive reaction by Sanders' supporters at the Democratic convention. 

After the convention Democratic operatives focused on a script to defeat Trump which they have continued ever since Clinton's defeat. 
... they went over the script they would pitch to the press and the public. Already, Russian hacking was the centerpiece of the argument.” In the days that followed, “her team coalesced around the idea that Russian hacking was the major unreported story of the campaign, overshadowed by the contents of stolen e-mails and Hillary’s own private server imbroglio.”

The anti-Russia narrative did not emerge out of Clinton’s head simply as a defensive cover for her own electoral catastrophe. Working with her allies from the State Department and the military-intelligence apparatus, a powerful section of the American ruling class elevated Russia’s alleged role as a mechanism to tamper social opposition, taint broad anti-Trump sentiment with the poison of American nationalism, and advance the anti-Russian agenda of US imperialism.

This narrative has been become the Democratic Party’s sole method for opposing Trump in his first months of office.

Cover Stories Are Used To Control Explanations

Click here to access article by Paul Craig Roberts from Foreign Policy Journal

The biggest news fakery of all is ...
When an intelligence agency pulls off an assassination or other event it doesn't want to be associated with, it prepares cover stories in advance.