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 LappĂ©, excerpt from Time for Progressives to Grow Up

Saturday, July 1, 2017

ISIS “Coincidentally” Appears Along China’s One Belt, One Road

Click here to access article by Tony Cartalucci from New Eastern Outlook.

Cartalucci builds a well-documented argument that the US Empire will continue to use terrorist armies such as ISIS to advance the interests of Wall Street and its insatiable appetite for profits and power. One of its major interests is thwarting the power of China. Furthermore, this strategy does not depend on who occupies the White House. That is precisely why the Deep State constantly attack Donald Trump through their media corporations: to bend his rather parochial business interests toward their international hegemonic interests.

The Deep State includes "think tanks" such as the Council on Foreign Affairs, Carnegie Institute, Brookings, etc, and the actions of their secret agencies (CIA, NSA, etc) that often hide behind numerous NGOs and direct terrorist proxy armies.
The Islamic State “coincidentally” appearing in virtually every geopolitical theater on Earth US interests are impeded or challenged by local and regional interests helps explain why not only the Islamic State exists in the first place, but explains how it has managed to survive and continue to thrive despite multinational efforts by nations like Russia, Syria, and Iran to defeat it.

Through state sponsorship, the Islamic State’s source of logistical, political, and military power ultimately lies in Washington, London, Brussels, Ankara, Riyadh, and Doha – where Russian-Syrian-Iranian military and political power cannot reach.

For those wondering where the Islamic State will strike next, one needs only to look at a  world map and identify where else US interests are being impeded by an increasingly multipolar world unwilling to yield to Wall Street and Washington’s corporate-financier monopolies.

Friday, June 30, 2017

The Myth of Liberal Policing

Click here to access an approximately 52 minute interview with Alex Vitale, Assoc. Professor of Sociology at Brooklyn College, NY City from the studios of KPFA, a listener sponsored radio station in Berkeley, California. (Note: if you access this interview at any other than the "Listen" link, the interview and program entitled "Against the Grain" starts at 5:33m.)
Each week brings another tragic account of the police injuring or killing someone, usually poor and of color.  So shouldn’t we support reforms to make the police more accountable? Alex Vitale has a surprising answer.  The sociologist discusses how liberal police reforms legitimize an illegitimate institution.  He argues instead that the reform we should get behind is reducing the number of police.
The professor supplies an excellent history of the origins of police forces used in Western countries. Like any good sociology professor he places the origins and the entire history of Western policing in the context of capitalist systems, but he doesn't do this very well directly. Rather he does it mostly implicitly in such a way as to protect him from crossing a red line of attacking the capitalist system which our masters in the ruling class do not tolerate. Otherwise his teaching career, or at least tenure, would be put in jeopardy. At the end of the program he does offers some progressive solutions, but they are all methods that are strictly within the acceptance of capitalism. The fact that they are so difficult to implement belies belief that such measures can be significantly introduced in a society such as ours than is heading in the direction of fascism.

Although there is more or less token allegiance to liberal practices historically in the US or in other capitalist countries, this appearance has to do with the historical origins of capitalism and its espousal of "democratic" propaganda to obtain the allegiance of the lower classes by the rising capitalist classes in order to overthrow the established feudal ruling classes. Thus fascist rule is capitalist rule without this fake liberal ideological element. However, police forces are expensive to maintain, therefore advanced capitalist ruling classes also put a lot of investment in organs of indoctrination and perception management. With the US going in a fascist direction, such reform measures that he suggests are all but impossible to implement. Hence our ruling class has placed far more resources in brutal police forces. Revolution is the only real solution!

Although many thinking people can recognize this insight regarding police forces as an institution that protects the ruling capitalist class, but they have a harder time recognizing that this is true of every institution (justice, media, education, entertainment, health care, etc) of all capitalist societies to a lessor or greater extent.  

Wednesday, June 28, 2017

‘China’s Old Silk Road Revival’

Click here if you wish to access this post directly from 21st Century Wire
EDITOR’S NOTE: China’s international trade and infrastructural expansion is influencing geopolitical events from Asia, to the Middle East, all the way to eastern Europe’s Balkan states. The West could only dream of making the sort of capital investments being made by China across Eurasia at the moment. How will the Western powers react to, and eventually accommodate this formidable emerging international force?

“In its heyday, the ancient Silk Road was Eurasia’s most important trade route, connecting two rich continents to facilitate trade and cultural exchange. Modern-day China has seen near constant economic growth. It boasts of several record figures, including the highest number of skyscrapers and the longest railroads. Five years ago, the government announced a new plan, “One Belt, One Road”, an initiative to revive the Silk Road. The strategy seeks to help China play a bigger role in global affairs through developing an infrastructure that will unite the countries of the two continents under a cohesive economic area. Many ancient Chinese cities that were once outposts along the Silk Road, desert oases or transport hubs are now rapidly transforming themselves into megacities, so that they can, once again, service and profit from the trade route. New businesses are opening, facilitated by the development of a reliable transport system, which in turn brings greater tourist flow. Some cities are also grated the status of special economic area, offering attractive tax incentives to foreign investors.”

It is likely this video was designed for Western audiences--but then, maybe not. You can see how the narrator's emphasis is on the success of entrepreneurs, development, skyscrapers, cars, etc. Although other informed people such as Jeff J. Brown, who lives and works in China, insist that state owned industries dominate the economy and the government is under the strict control of the Chinese Communist Party, China now has billionaire entrepreneurs who likely are very influential regarding China's future. What is worrisome for me is that today's entrepreneurs are likely tomorrow's ruling capitalist class with all the Western tendencies of such a powerful class to be self-serving and anti-democratic. Besides that, what endows members of the Chinese Communist Party with wisdom to serve an educated Chinese people rather than themselves?

Eurasia: Some Personal Impressions of Emerging China

Click here to access article by F. William Engdahl from New Eastern Outlook.

Following a recent visit to China in which he talked to many top-level intellectuals, Engdahl reports on his impressions. In contrast to capitalists under the US-led Empire who prefer trading debt instruments and proxy wars to accumulate wealth and power, China is pursuing a program of building infra-structure to facilitate the trade of goods across the Eurasian continent linking all the economies from Asia to Europe.
Today’s China is far more complex than simply being the world’s great economic colossus, the so-called “workshop to the world.” Yet despite serious problems with the development path the country’s Communist Party leadership took beginning in 1979, when Deng Xiaoping opened China to foreign investment and a global market with a pragmatic market economy whose slogan was “Socialism with Chinese Characteristics,” China today is the key to any future positive world economic growth in a peaceful context. Unlike Trump’s demagogic slogan, “Making America Great Again,” China’s OBOR infrastructure undertaking is no demagoguery. It’s very richly real.
Personally, I would like to see the Chinese Communist Party which guides China's policies start to restrict what their industries produce in favor of necessities like food, shelter, education, and information structures rather than producing for capitalist markets.

The Chinese Communist Party have used China's abundance of cheap labor to serve capitalist economies in order to develop their economy and technology. They have been wildly successful. But now its time to change to producing only necessary goods and services that are required to raise the quality of lives across the world. To do this, they must create genuine democratic structures that empower people to play an increasing role in deciding what is really necessary.  

Monday, June 26, 2017

David Suzuki & GM [Guy McPherson]- Abrupt Climate Change - Compassion in the Face of Death

(Edited for clarity at 6 PM Seattle time)  

The video below starts out with a scene featuring American scientist Guy McPherson and continues with other interspersed scenes of doctors and patients confronting the end of individual lives. This is apparently intended to provide a context for the major issue of today--human extinction. Most of the video consists of an interview by Peter Mansbridge of the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation (CBC) with Canadian scientist David Suzuki regarding climate destabilization. At one point Suzuki makes reference to Guy McPherson who among scientists represents a more pessimistic view of near term human extinction due to human-caused destabilization of our planet's biosphere.

I think it is a mistake, as in the video, to compare the interspersed scenes of individuals facing death with that of the entire human race facing extinction. I think this actually trivializes the issue. Individuals have known death (as well as birth) for the past 150,000 years of human existence, but human extinction is of a vaster different scale of tragedy. I think this treatment illustrates the extreme individualism throughout Western capitalist civilization in which self-centeredness in addition to greed and manipulation of others for private gain have been essentially transformed into virtues. 

Trump‘s Red Line

Click here to access article by Seymour M. Hersh from Welt (Germany).
On April 6, United States President Donald Trump authorized an early morning Tomahawk missile strike on Shayrat Air Base in central Syria in retaliation for what he said was a deadly nerve agent attack carried out by the Syrian government two days earlier in the rebel-held town of Khan Sheikhoun. Trump issued the order despite having been warned by the U.S. intelligence community that it had found no evidence that the Syrians had used a chemical weapon.
First of all, I note that Hersh has gone from publishing his articles in The New Yorker (mostly read by upper income people) to the London Review of Books to this one which is the online version of the conservative German newspaper Die Welt. It seems that any well-known and reputable American news analyst must go abroad to have their views read by any public.

Once again Hersh brings information gleaned from his anonymous inside sources in an attempt to reveal the real story behind another criminal act by our military and/or CIA establishments--the April bombing of a Syrian airbase because of a concocted story of gas warfare. It appears from this report that the real estate magnate and elected president watches fake news produced by media corporations, and make decisions accordingly. 

On the other hand, maybe he just wants to get the Ziocons (Zionist conservatives) off his back by a largely fake display of a proper militancy toward Russia, Iran, and President Assad of Syria without really doing too much damage. Hersh's piece supports the former hypothesis, but I remain skeptical. It seems more likely that he deliberately went along with military intelligence officials to design a militarily deficient response that was wrapped in militant rhetoric. This Hersh piece makes one wonder if Deep State operatives are using Hersh for their own nefarious purposes by supplying him with deceptive information.