The planet has just a 5% chance of reaching Paris climate goal.
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, August 12, 2017
Friday, August 11, 2017
Cunningham recognizes that China and Russia in going along with UN sanctions likely seek to start negotiations that can produce a peaceful settlement to this long developing crisis.
What appears to be in the calculus by China and Russia is that by giving a sop to the American desire to get tough on North Korea, they are anticipating that the US will agree to calls for multi-party talks and a freeze on military activities on the Korean Peninsula.His main objection about the agreement of China and Russia to go along with the Empire's demand for UN sanctions against the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (North Korea) can be summed up with this paragraph:
Both the Chinese and Russian ambassadors to the UN coupled the latest resolution for sanctions against North Korea with the reboot of the six-party negotiations involving the two Koreas, China, Russia, Japan and the US. Those talks were abandoned in 2009 when the US and North Korea broke off in recriminations.
It is misplaced for China and Russia to pander to the US over sanctions and to expect something by way of concessions in return. The arrogant Americans don’t know the meaning of concessions, they only perceive weakness and will move to capitalize on weakness.
Late last year, search engine giant Google announced its plans to protect users from the horrors of ‘fake news’ by changing the way it presents search results. According to corporate officials, they hope to shelter readers by limiting access to what the company deems as “low-quality” information – while promoting what it calls ‘established’ mainstream sources. Critics believe that the company, which now has a virtual monopoly on internet traffic, is now playing god over the info-sphere.Actually, from my experience Google is the best of a very bad selection of data search engines. If you know of a better one, please let me know. Someone needs to design a search engine that only includes reliable sources of information. But that takes funding and the rich of the Empire have nearly all of the funds.
For ISIS – fueled by resources found only within the boundaries of its meager and shrinking territorial holdings in Syria and Iraq – to be simultaneously fighting the national armies of Syria and Iraq, backed by Iran, Russia, Lebanon’s Hezbollah, and allegedly a US-led coalition including dozens of countries, all while expanding its reach worldwide, including full-scale military operations in Southeast Asia, begs belief.Having long followed news reports in independent media and from reliable journalists regarding the sudden appearance of the well-equipped and technologically advanced ISIS army in Syria, I immediately drew some inferences about their sudden dramatic appear in the Philippines. Cartalucci provides in summary form the evidence and logic which supports the reality that ISIS is the US-led Empire's and allies' well-funded project to spread its brand of terrorism all over the world in order to justify the Empire's global military operations.
If you are like me, you don't need to read the article. However, most Americans timidly never venture outside of corporate media, and thus they accept the ruling class's constructed "reality" as truth. Remember what that right-wing advisor Karl Rove said in a brief moment of candor?
“We’re an empire now, and when we act, we create our own reality. And while you’re studying that reality — judiciously, as you will — we’ll act again, creating other new realities, which you can study too, and that’s how things will sort out. We’re history’s actors . . . and you, all of you, will be left to just study what we do.”He wasn't only referring to their actions as reported by independent media, but to their construction via media corporations of the "reality" of their actions.
Thursday, August 10, 2017
“In order to replace capitalism with an ecological society we need a revolution.” That modest sentence is how Fred Magdoff and Chris Williams, the authors of Creating an Ecological Society: Toward a Revolutionary Transformation, begin the last chapter of their new book. Although the chapter is the end of the book, it is also an opening to a new direction, a new movement. It is also the essence of the entire text. Capitalism is the reason our biosphere is collapsing and the only way humanity and the rest of earth’s species can survive is by ending capitalism.Magdoff and Williams make some very good arguments, which Jacobs summarizes, that capitalism is ultimately going to destroy the habitat that supports human life. I particularly like their material about human nature and its gross distortion under capitalist culture.
However, saving the biosphere to protect human habitation is only one of the reasons why we should should put an end to capitalism. Capitalism is also the root cause of widespread poverty and wars. Wars nowadays between major powers that are equipped with nuclear weapons are likely to extinguish humans much earlier than the destabilization of the biosphere. I have striven for the past nearly eight years to argue and document all three reasons with this website. (I have also written a proposal on the best way to end capitalism: A Revolutionary Model.)
I notice that more and more people are beginning to realize that revolution to end capitalist rule must be considered. (See here, and here.) I googled "revolution" on Google (selected "past week" under "tools") and found many recent entries referring to Bernie Sanders (see this). This suggests to me that ruling class agents are once again attempting to herd confused young Americans back into the fold of the Democratic Party or at least into a political dead-end.
Yesterday I noticed numerous articles (for example, see this) in liberal media about the recent convention held in Chicago by the Democratic Socialists of America who seem to be enjoying a revival with the injection of many former Bernie Sanders followers. Although occasionally they play lip service to the abolition of capitalism, their past actions indicate that they are far more interested in working politically within the capitalist system to promote social democracy or a generous state welfare system.
What few people who want to substantially change conditions today fail to realize is that 1) the capitalist ruling class will never allow substantial change to be voted on and selected; and 2) that the descendance into fascism that today's capitalist rule exhibits is not the fascism of the past, but a new form using corporate media to thoroughly confuse and distract people in order to promote their policies and preserve their rule.
Thus any effective revolutionary movement must counter the fake news and analysis with authentic news and analysis that enables ordinary people to understand what is going on in the world and awaken an awareness of how they can bring about real changes. This, too, I have firmly embedded in my revolutionary proposal. In addition the proposal uses prefigurative political elements to empower ordinary people and prevent any kind of ruling classes in the future.
Wednesday, August 9, 2017
Cuban medicine is famous all over the world except here in the US where media corporations don't want you to know about it. Their research has led to new medicines, their Latin America School of Medicine has trained more than 28,500 doctors from 103 countries, and Cuban doctors have served in numerous countries which are lacking in health facilities. I know from my trip to Venezuela in December 2005 that the Venezuelan people very much appreciate the work they have done in their country.
The article mostly reports on the author's interviews with recent graduates of the school to hear from them about their experience at the school.
Durden covers several new events that suggest a movement is on (no doubt by agents of the Deep State) to curtail reports you are getting from various alternative websites. This includes a new "think tank" that's been organized to do just that--it's called the "Alliance for Securing Democracy". (Don't you just love the way they in their unique Orwellian style so frequently dress up their nefarious projects with the warm-fuzzy word "democracy"?)
...who specifically is behind the Alliance for Securing Democracy? For that we should turn to Col. Pat Lang's blog, Sic Semper Tyrannis, which artfully summarizes its origins. Pat Lang is a retired former high ranking Pentagon intelligence officer who oversaw all military intelligence for the Middle East, and was a presidential intelligence briefer under past presidents. ....
Tuesday, August 8, 2017
Note on 10/24/2017: I very much regret posting this article. See my recent post entitled "Pew Survey Examines 'Future of Truth and Misinformation Online'" for an explanation.
While many technology companies continue to step up their privacy game by adopting best practices to protect sensitive customer information when the government demands user data, telecommunications companies are failing to prioritize user privacy when the government comes knocking. Even tech giants such as Apple, Facebook, and Google can do more to fully stand behind their users.You can check details on each company and other information below the chart provided by the report.
EFF's seventh annual “Who Has Your Back” report digs into the ways many technology companies are getting the message about user privacy in this era of unprecedented digital surveillance.
We evaluated the public policies at 26 companies and awarded stars in five categories, with nine companies earning a perfect five-star score this year: Adobe, Credo, Dropbox, Lyft, Pinterest, Sonic, Uber, Wickr, and Wordpress. Each has a track record of defending user privacy against government overreach and improved on their practices to meet the more stringent standards in this year's Who Has Your Back.
AT&T, Comcast, T-Mobile, and Verizon scored the lowest, each earning just one star. While they have adopted a number of industry best practices, like publishing transparency reports and requiring a warrant for content, they still need to commit to informing users before disclosing their data to the government and creating a public policy of requesting judicial review of all National Security Letters.
Yesterday I receive this link to Kenneth Starr's speech in an email from Dave Ratcliffe of ratical.org regarding the current dangers of a nuclear war which our masters seem to be preparing for. Although it violates my rule to post only current material (less than one month), I share Ratcliffe's and many others concerns about the lack of information in today's several generations regarding the devastating effects of a nuclear war. Starr reports that earlier generations knew full well about the effects of a nuclear, but according him this seems to have changed around 1980.
I myself was not really aware of this change, but I think that this explains why so many people today are quite unconcerned about the bellicose anti-Russian statements and actions as well as NATO's military preparations for a war with Russia. I lived through the terrifying days around the Cuban Missile Crisis, and I am beginning to experience similar feelings today. I have been confounded by the apparent lack of concern today about a nuclear war and the absence of any significant anti-war movement. Hence I am posting this.
(I have been seeing frequent references by today's pundits and commentators to the old TV program Star Wars which began after the film Star Wars was released in 1977. I keep wondering if this space opera about intergalactic wars as entertainment did not create this lack of concern.)
In this post you can listen to Starr's address via YouTube (the first 19:36m) or read the script. (I found the audio rather deficient for my old ears.)
Reeves explains the similarities of NFL's actions of today with the slave-plantation system of our history, and he also castigates today's racists and "Uncle Toms". The Civil War may have freed African-Americans from classic slavery, but otherwise for most of them conditions don't seem to have changed substantially. Now it seems the ruling capitalist class finds African-Americans not only as a source of cheap labor, but as a useful group to divide, control, and fool white workers.
The Colin Kaepernick situation reveals all you need to know about the US Big Business and its most popular non profit the National Football League. Kaepernick remains unsigned because he stood up against racism and police violence, both of which are important to the rich powerful in maintaining their hold on US society.
The NFL owners are hypocrites.
The author explains how many US-led Empire "think tanks" (in contrast to primary "deep state" think tanks that decide major policies), in reality serve as propaganda organizations, and use well-funded lobbyists to spread propaganda (to upper middle class professionals and mid-level businessmen) to support ruling capitalist class interests. In Syria and other places this means spreading disinformation about the Empire's support for various terrorist groups with weapons and training. He particularly "outs" (def. #2) Charles Lister as one such lobbyist.
...the only thing that has changed [since the Iraq war in 2003] is the signature under the calls for war. There are some recurring figures, of course, but in general a whole new pool was formed from the latest available “talent” concerning serving liberalism. One such “genius” is a Mr Charles Lister. He can be described as today’s equivalent of Judith Miller. They both first and foremost are lobbyists – the former for Israel, the latter for Qatar, they both were/are paid for their work (selling war), and they both have been exposed on more than one occasion for severely alarming incompetence.
Monday, August 7, 2017
This piece represents the best assessment of the current political conditions in Venezuela that I have seen. Today we see numerous articles in corporate media which go to great lengths to smear the Bolivarian government of Venezuela with distorted information, but on the other side in small blogs we frequently find ideologically obsessed purists who gloss over the sins of the Venezuelan government and characterize any criticisms as simply capitalist propaganda. As political activists and revolutionaries we simply must give up the juvenile habit of seeing various groups as either "good guys" or "bad guys" that our ruling class likes to do.
Based on my trip to Venezuela in December of 2005 when I witnessed the beginning indications of a self-serving bureaucracy, this view by Gonzalez has the pure ring of authenticity. I posted many articles back in 2010 reflecting this concern: for some examples, see this, this, and especially this.
Because "Mike Gonzalez" is a very common name, the following is an accurate description of the author that I borrowed from The London School of Economics and Political Science:
Gonzalez is one of Britain’s leading scholars in Latin American studies. He has written extensively on Latin American politics and culture, social movements, and revolutionary figures. He is author of volumes on Che Guevara and the Cuban Revolution, the Nicaraguan revolution, on the situation in Chile in the 1970s, and has recently written articles for the magazine Jacobin in which he analyses the current political turmoil in Venezuela.Also, if you still have doubts about the author, listen to the following 12:10m talk that Gonzalez gave in 2014 (before the collapse in oil prices) regarding Chavez and the Bolivarian Revolution since he took control at the end of 1998.
The Bolivarian Revolution is not over yet, but Gonzalez accurately reports most of what has gone wrong up till now. Hugo Chavez did create many coops and popular councils and educated many ordinary Venezuelans that radicalized many people, and these people may yet save and advance the revolution before it is taken back by the old oligarchy in collusion with the US.
You might also be interested in an article by Peter Koenig entitled "Venezuela – The National Constituent Assembly is in Place – But the fight for Sovereignty isn’t Over" in which he describes the current situation in the country.
Sunday, August 6, 2017
The American media specializes in fake news. Indeed, since the Clinton regime the American media has produced nothing but fake news.Roberts provides a survey of reports on corporate media and finds them riddled with lies to the extent that one could easily conclude that their media only serves a propaganda function to support the profit and power interests of the capitalist ruling class. Still, that makes no difference to many Americans who daily follow news reports in corporate media like they were a drug--actually they do act as a kind of hallucinogenic drug. "Just say no" to drugs by cutting the cord"! After that, do what you can to support reliable news on independent websites.