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 17, 2017

Blood on the tracks of the New Silk Roads

Click here to access article by Pepe Escobar from Asia Times.

This devoted China booster writes that the Chinese Communist Party is distressed by the current conflict pitting Saudi Arabia, Egypt, United Arab Emirates, and Bahrain against Qatar and Turkey. The former faction is opposed to the latter's increasingly warming relations with Iran and Russia. And, Trump in his profound ignorance probably ignited this fire.
China’s cardinal foreign policy imperative is to refrain from interfering abroad while advancing the proverbial good relations with key political actors – even when they may be at each other’s throats.

Still, it’s nothing but gut-wrenching for Beijing to watch the current, unpredictable, Saudi-Qatari standoff. There’s no endgame in sight, as plausible scenarios include even regime change and a seismic geopolitical shift in Southwest Asia – what a Western-centric view calls the Middle East.
Since the late 1970s under the leadership of Deng Xiaoping, the Chinese Communist Party launched what they regard as a "win-win" strategy using economic development to solve conflicts both within China and abroad. (See my commentary here starting with "For background material on contemporary China ...".)

Chelsea Manning’s Persevering Spirit Shines In Interview For ABC’s ‘Nightline’

Click here to access article by Kevin Gosztola from Shadowproof.
Whether in an imperfect or hostile setting, Chelsea Manning’s persevering spirit and humanity never fails to shine. That was certainly the case in her exclusive interview for “Nightline” on ABC.

The United States Army whistleblower describes her military prison life at Fort Leavenworth as a daily fight for survival.

Friday, June 16, 2017

Capitalist trends

by Brian McFadden from his website.

Capitalism in the Web of Life: Ecology and the Accumulation of Capital

Click here to access a review by Elaine Graham-Leigh of a book by the above title posted on CounterFire (Britain). 

I totally agree with her concluding paragraph:
It is a fairly common belief within green thought that practising pre-figurative politics, living as far as possible as if capitalism did not exist, is a strategy for defeating the system; that it can be hollowed out from within by individuals and communities making some effort to withdraw themselves. It is a tempting belief (it would be much easier) but as numerous examples, from the Diggers to the communist village in Spain, demonstrate, capitalism can continue to exist even if there are groups of people within it who think they are escaping its clutches. The only way that we will see the end of capitalism, before its crisis of negative value sees the end of us, is if we overthrow it and for that, we need to organise. Moore’s often impressive analysis overcomes the common green allergy to talking about a revolution. It just needed to go a little further and embrace the revolutionary socialist organisation that any chance of a successful revolution will require.
If you didn't know, I have such a proposal for the overthrow of capitalism in the following series entitled "A revolutionary model": Part 1, Part 2a, Part 2b, and Part 3. The proposal uses a pre-figurative political structure in a radically new alternative media organization as a method to undermine the legitimacy of information from media corporations--the engines of capitalist rule.

The Kurds Are Playing A Dangerous Game

Click here to access article by Paul Mansfield and Mary Woodward from BSNews.

The British authors are obviously referring to the Syrian Kurds that I learned in past reports have distanced themselves from the Iraqi Kurds who are much more conservative. I have been trying for the last several years to understand why they were playing such a dangerous game, and the authors are as perplexed as I am. 

I was also initially taken in by articles from ROAR (around 2014) that described the Syrian Kurds as an epitome of advanced revolutionary thinking, but then I began to read reports about their collusion with US forces and allowing the latter to have military bases on their territory. Still, more recently I've read a report in which a TeleSur reporter asked them if they were seeking an independent state, and the answer was a firm "no". This is the same answer that they gave in some article I read in 2014.

Thursday, June 15, 2017

Mark Crispin Miller on “conspiracy theory”

Click here if you wish to access an 25:54m interview with Mark Crispin Miller by RT directly from Miller's website. 

In this interview this specialist in communication studies offers his understanding of the words “conspiracy theory” often used by Empire agents to smear views that they don't like. This weapon is a part of the vast arsenal that Empire agents use in their largely one-sided war on authentic information.
One of the most divisive terms in the English language today is the phrase ‘conspiracy theory.’ Its stigma has a chilling effect on people and the label has the subtle power to shut down enquiring minds and, with them, any inconvenient conversations.

But where did the term come from, and how does this catch-all phrase affect independent thinkers, international debate and the media today?
Host Ross Ashcroft is joined by author and Professor of Media Studies at New York University Mark Crispin Miller.

'Without Putin, Syria Would Have Ceased to Exist'

Click here to access an interview with Father Daniel Maes, a Flemish priest living in Syria, posted on Russia Insider
According to the Flemish Father Daniel Maes, who has lived in Syria since 2010, the coverage of the Syrian war is based on lies. President Bashar al-Assad is not the problem, but our own politicians, who support ISIS and Al Nusra, in order to topple the Syrian government. "The real terrorist leaders are in the West and Saudi Arabia."

The 79-year-old Father Daniel Maes is back in his native country Belgium. He stays in the Norbertine abbey of the Flemish village Postel, which he left for Syria in 2010, when the country was not yet at war.

Wednesday, June 14, 2017

Why Americans Don’t Understand Terrorism, At All

Click here to access article by Joe Giambrone from OffGuardian

Giambrone thinks that Brits are holier than Americans. Because they voted for Labor candidates under Jeremy Corbin? We Americans were only given a choice between a real estate tycoon who promised jobs and peace with Russia and a mad-dog warmonger as represented by Hillary Clinton. This only proves that their political process might be more open than ours. After all, the US is now the center of the Empire, not Britain! Who cares where North Korea is?! 😉
We live in an invisible empire, and so the mechanics of the empire are never openly discussed with the rabble. Americans don’t comprehend how power actually works across the planet that their country seeks to control. They live from momentary headline to headline without any honest, in-depth analysis of why events like the Manchester bombing occur and keep occurring.

When it comes to terrorism it is dire, urgent, and desperate that the public understand, if anything is to change. But it certainly appears that Americans never will. Perhaps Britons may, and then lead the effort to stop it.

The need to radicalise the Bolivarian Revolution – interview with Jorge Martín

Click here to access article which is a transcript of an interview with Jorge Martin and posted on TeleSur

Martin confirms my own impressions of the rather pretentious Bolivarian Revolution that Hugo Chavez spoke so frequently and passionately about. It is easy for others in foreign lands to be critical of leaders of socialist revolutions, so I tried to retain an open mind about the Chavistas and their leadership. 

However after a trip to Venezuela in December of 2005, I returned home with a feeling that the so-called revolution would not be able to establish socialism by pretending to empower the base of workers and peasants organized in communal councils. (See my commentaries here, here, and here) Martin reinforces all my doubts about its original authenticity. It seems that cultural traditions promote a strong tendency to follow old patterns even among revolutionaries. I am referring to clientelism and caudilloism that is so prevalent throughout South America. 

However because the vast majority of Venezuelans know that they will be far worse off under a pro-capitalist government, they might have sufficient energy to move against their capitalist foes by nationalizing large industries. Then we would likely see a repeat of the Syrian conflict, and that may be the precise reason why Hugo Chavez was so cautious.

Tuesday, June 13, 2017

Economic Update: Human Nature and Capitalism

On the last half of a recent program presented below, economics Prof. Wolff interviews Dr. Harriet Fraad who talks about human nature.

Because I'm not entirely sure if she is arguing that human nature is infinitely malleable, I would like to clarify my own position. 

Human nature is very adaptable, but within limits. Our nature is to be free, but within limits of human society. Because ruling classes have emerged during the last 2% of human existence corresponding to civilization, there has also occurred far more stringent limits that have been imposed on large numbers of people by ruling classes in order to secure their advantages. 

Originally they accomplished this through violence, but since then mostly by indoctrinating the oppressed with various justifying messages: such arrangements have been ordained by some god, there is no alternative, or it is simply conforming to human nature. The desire for freedom within social limits, which humans had to maintain for 98% of human existence in order to survive, has never been destroyed, but only repressed by ruling classes during the last 2% of human existence.

Hence there never ceases to be vigorous opposition to these arbitrary limits imposed on oppressed people by ruling classes. This conflict between rulers and the oppressed is often referred to as "class struggle". It also represents what oppressed humans frequently refer to as "fairness" or "social justice". If human nature were infinitely adaptable, this conflict would not occur.

Monday, June 12, 2017

The Russians Did Not Do It

Click here to access article by Gregory Barrett from The Greanville Post

If you are bothered by the incessant propaganda spewed by media corporations to the extent that it is threatening your mental health, then I recommend this piece as an excellent antidote.

Neocons 2.0: The problem with Peter Pomerantsev

Click here to access article by Mark Ames from Pando.

If you still have doubts about my assertion that there is a one-sided information war going on in my last opinion piece entitled "A Revolutionary Model: Problems and Possibilities - Part 3 of 3", then you will surely need to read this piece. But even if you were aware, I still recommend it because it gives you an idea of the length that mostly neocons (I think that they are more accurately identified as "Ziocons"--short for "Zionist conservatives") go to invert reality. I don't think you did need wade through the entire rather lengthy article to get the idea that our masters' media corporations are under the control of highly skilled sociopaths who are very much like Peter Pomerantsev. 

Also consider the trend in the last decades of subverting alternative media sources into serving us propaganda of the US Empire. A prime example of this is in this article entitled "When Mother Jones Was Investigated For Spreading 'Kremlin Disinformation'".