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, September 23, 2017

Trump scolds Kim Jong-un

Kim Jong-un with his little rocket responded by saying "you are a mentally deranged and senile old man".

I don't mean to belittle this spat because it is very dangerous. But it's better to laugh about such things than merely complain or worry. Better yet is to become active and informed in order to remove from power a class of people who mostly depend on violence to bully others into giving them cheap labor, resources, and generally to have their way in the world.

Friday, September 22, 2017

[Weekly series of the Russian Revolution of 1917] September 18 – 24: Bolsheviks obtain majorities in Moscow and Petrograd soviets

Click here to access article from the World Socialist Web Site.

I am posting a series of weekly/daily series of articles describing the events of the Russian Revolution from the WSWS website.

I will be posting a weekly summary of activities during the Russian Revolution of 1917 as well as articles by historians of that great event. You may be interested to read my introduction to the latter series if you have not already done so. 
Following the Kornilov affair, support for the Bolsheviks surges, and they win control of the Moscow and Petrograd soviets, followed one by one by provincial soviets. The crisis of the newly formed Kerensky dictatorship deepens. All the while, the war rages on, and mass hunger and deprivation fuel working-class rebellions around the world.

The Kurdish Question: Why Federalization In Syria And The Creation of A Kurdistan Is A Very Bad Idea

Click here to access article by Brandon Turbeville from Activist Post

It is obvious that the US has long abandoned Plan A to get rid of President Assad of Syria and install a more compliant puppet as head of state. Now it's Plan B executed by the US's terrorist strategists in the CIA and Israel's Mossad. This is convincingly argued in this lengthy article in which Turbeville adds numerous quotes from other independent journalists and observers to bolster his argument. 
Shortly after the Russian entrance to the Syrian theatre, American media became full of stories praising the heroism of the Kurdish fighters battling against ISIS in areas such as Ayn al-Arab (Kobane) and others. From stories promoting the fighting prowess of the Kurdish brigades to cleverly created propaganda campaigns regarding female Kurdish fighters, the Western press, including the alternative media, was full of stories telling Americans that the Kurds were the real victims and the real heroes of the crisis. This propaganda campaign came about the same time that the Syrian military began making serious gains against Western-backed terrorists with the help of Russia. Thus, as America’s terrorists began losing the war, America produced another “freedom fighter” poster child – the YPG. 
The stories he refers to in alternative media promoting the latest version of "freedom fighter" heroes are such items by anarchist David Graeber, who has long championed the Syrian Kurds (see the latest), and one by Pete Dolack, who has otherwise contributed much to our understanding of financial issues. However Turbeville insists, and I agree with him, that this view serves Empire propaganda and fits very well with the Plan B of the US and its partner-in-crime Israel to balkanize Israel's Arab neighbors. I don't think it is a mere coincidence that Iraqi Kurds are holding a referendum on Monday while this is going on in neighboring Syria. Perhaps the Kurdish leader, Masoud Barzani, is a Mossad agent after all, as alleged numerous times by various observers. At least there is considerable evidence that the Kurds have long enjoyed the support and collaboration by the Israelis in their quest for independence. The US is against the referendum officially, but I think it is only a cover to protect them from the ire of the Iraqi government.

Thursday, September 21, 2017

Single Payer, the Democratic Party and the Nonprofit Industrial Complex

Click here to access article by Russell Mokhiber from The Greanville Post.

I am posting this piece only as an illustration of an incorrigible reformist liberal who still thinks that...
...the people at the grassroots...have lit the prairie fire that will not be extinguished by Democrats, or Green Democrats, or public interest Democrats, or the Democratic public option, or Democratic incrementalism, or Democratic affiliated sheepdogs.

It will not be extinguished until single payer becomes law. That means overcoming the pharmaceutical industry, the healthcare industry, the Democratic Party, Green Democrats, Kamala Harris, Cory Booker, and the nonprofit industrial complex.

Onward to single payer.
He makes this statement following his excellent exposé of the frustrating lessons he's learned while working in various liberal groups to pass legislation that purportedly serves the interests of ordinary people. This piece shows the political immaturity of American liberal activists which, I believe, constitute the majority of American activists. (The same applies to another post from the same website entitled "A Cure For Mad Trump Disease" in which the author claims that the solution is electing the right people to Congress!)

There is no way that a single payer medical plan will ever be permitted to pass into law in the US as long as the capitalist class is in control. Private insurance plans are a bonanza for the capitalist ruling class. Likewise with all the other progressive measures that interfere with the ruling capitalist class's pursuit of wealth/power and their attempt to control the world. While in pursuit of the latter goal, they have wracked up a huge government debt of $20 trillion dollars, which is owed to mostly Empire capitalist creditors who bet on the Empire by purchasing US Treasury securities. Their investments can only be realized if they succeed. 

Obviously at this point our masters have only one option: to continue with "business as usual". And, likewise, we have only one option if we are going to save ourselves from a nuclear war conflagration or a more gradual extinction due to climate destabilization. Guess what that is?  

The forbidden questions about the Korea crisis

Click here to access article by Moss Roberts from Asia Times
Why does Washington insist on continuing the war games? Is it about strategy, military budgets, promoting weapon sales, face? Is the purpose to maximize tensions and so push South Korea away from China and toward Japan?
The author asks many serious questions about why sensible solutions are not followed by the US, South Korea, and Japan. The answer is the US-led Empire's compulsive policy of rollback which began after WWII against the influence of the anti-capitalist nations, Soviet Union and China, and is now continuing a similar policy under contemporary conditions in which these nations with mixed economies and North Korea (with a bureaucratically run socialist system) are beginning to seriously challenge the Empire's imperial dominance. US propaganda organs sell this imperialist policy to its citizens as "American exceptionalism" or as America's "unique leadership" in world affairs.

Tuesday, September 19, 2017

Russia’s Interesting New Oil Geopolitics

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

Engdahl lends his geopolitical perspective on the current situation in the Middle East.
Russia, China, Turkey, Iran, Qatar. They are weaving deeper peaceful economic ties, walking away in the case of Qatar and Turkey from their ill-conceived US-inspired war against Syria’s Bashar al Assad, developing long-term energy cooperation and defense ties. At the heart is Russia’s emerging new oil geopolitics.

The response to this all from the sinking Titanic that used to be known as the United States of America, of its military lobby and their Wall Street bankers who actually run Washington policy via their web of think-tanks, is infantile: war, destabilizations, color revolutions, sanctions as a form of economic war, demonization, lies. That’s all rather stupid and ultimately boring.
[Notice his description of the shadow government, what I refer to as the Deep State.]

Realism in Astana: The Prequel to a Decade of Peace in the Middle East [Updated on 9/23/2017]

Click here to access article by Ollie Richardson from Oriental Review
America and its European vassals now find themselves neck-deep in the consequences of their own idiotic decisions. The new reality involves a bloc involving both Iran and Turkey deciding not only the outcome of the Syrian war, but also the next 10 years in the Middle East.
This offers the best political analysis I have seen of the current conditions in the Syrian conflict and the future of the nearby region. 

"Astana" refers to the recent talks between Russia, Turkey, and Iran at Astana, Kazakstan. Notice that the US and its coalition partners were excluded as participants (although observers from US, UN, etc were allowed) in the 4th (May 2017), 5th (August), and 6th (September) talks held there in which "de-escalation zones" (he refers to them as "deconfliction zones") were decided. 

Updated information on 9/23/2017: The above information may not be entirely accurate. A much more plausible description of the meeting participants was written by Alexander Orlov who writes:
From September 14 to September 15, Astana held its sixth round of talks on Syria, in which the delegations of the guarantor countries Russia, Turkey and Iran, the Government of the Syrian Arab Republic and the Syrian opposition, as well as the UN Secretary General Special Envoy for Syria, Staffan de Mistura, took part. The United States and Jordan were present as observers.
I'm waiting with great anticipation to see how the US-backed Kurds and the area under their control in northern Syria is resolved. 

How the UN Covers for US Aggression

Click here to access article by J.P. Sottile from ConsortiumNews. (Edited for clarity around 8 PM Seattle time.)

It is obvious that the "UN covers for US aggression" and Sottile provides all the historical details that illustrate this truth. However the "how" is not well explained. Permit me to fill in the "how".

The term "United Nations" was first used by President Franklin Roosevelt in early 1941 as a propaganda gimmick during a meeting with Prime Minister Winston Churchill in August of 1941 in Newfoundland, Canada. This term was officially referred to in the Atlantic Charter as a part of a more elaborate propaganda campaign waged by the leaders of the embryonic Anglo-American capitalist empire (later to become the US-led Empire) to wrap themselves in high-minded principles. (Churchill had considerable difficulty with the third principle of the Charter because of India's strong desire for independence: "all people had a right to self-determination", and he never took it seriously, nor did US officials as subsequently illustrated in Vietnam.) Such a propaganda campaign was needed in order to rally isolationist Americans to the Anglo-American cause and to enlist the support of many neutral nations in their contest with their overtly fascist competitors, the Axis powers (Germany, Italy, and Japan) for world dominance. As you can see, these two warring capitalist camps were little more than what we commonly recognize as neighborhood gangs fighting over the control of turf.

At this time only Britain and Russia were engaged in this war (WWII), but FDR was a diehard anglophile and anti-fascist capitalist, and saw the necessity of the US coming to the aid of desperate Britain. He did everything he could to support the British in spite of widespread isolationist sentiment and opposition in the US that was mostly engineered by the fascist wing of the capitalist ruling class. Both Britain and later the US were forced to ally themselves temporarily with the Soviet Union, their arch-enemy, in order to defeat their rival, the German Reich, for world dominance . 

Many fascist capitalists in the evolving deep state at the time became aware that this war offered a splendid opportunity for US world dominance after the war was over. This informal project of the Deep State became known as the American Century, a term that was first coined by fascist-inclined Henry Luce, president of Time, Inc., a major multimedia corporation consisting of numerous mainstream publications, radio projects and newsreels. The publication of this article (by the same name) rallied the fascist wing of the US capitalist ruling class, which had previously hid under the label of "isolationism", to support the war against the Axis powers. Well, with this support and the provocations of US government trade embargoes against Japan, whose fascist ruling class were building their own empire in Asia, inevitably led the US in a few short months to a war with Japan and the rest of the Axis powers.  

After the Allied victory in WWII, the US, which was by far the dominant power in the world as forecast by the fascist promoters of the "American Century", and its subordinate partner Britain established what was originally known as the United Nations Organization. Of course with such origins the organization was largely dominated by the US. The first indication of the latter was the UN resolutions in 1950 condemning North Korea's invasion of South Korea--although this happened after many provocations by the US-backed South Korean forces (read The Origins of the Korean War, v1 by Bruce Cumings). This was the pretext for President Harry Truman, without a declaration of war, to order troops to Korea to enforce these resolutions (in reality to contain and roll-back a communist government). In order to provide the US's intervention with more legitimacy as a UN force, the US managed to get token forces from other nations to join them.

As another indication of the US domination of the UN, despite many UN resolutions condemning Israel for their settlements on Palestinian territory, there has never been an attempt to enforce them with any military actions.

We Will Not Be Silenced: First They Ignore You, Then Comes Censorship

Click here to access article by Teodrose Fikre from The Ghion Journal
...let me state this truth. The system of global oppression—where a few lord over billions—is not afraid of those who speak with fiery rhetoric and those who agitate people into angry discontent. Far from fearing demagogues, the status quo actually elevates them for the playbook of divide and conquer depends on those who peddle separable grievances in order to shatter the people into islands of resentment. From Obama to Trump and the endless sea of politicians and mainstream media pundits are nothing more than two faced snakes who present injustice through one sided perspectives for this very reason. What the elites and the powerful fear are those who speak for universal justice and who try to rally people to the flag of humanity and our commonality of hopes.

.... It is for this precise reason that the outrage machine has been cranked up full blast; the closer we get to seeing how we are all getting duped as a people, the more the elites try to dupe us through hoodwink [read Hoodwinking US]. The same elites are reverting to something even more sinister as corporations and those in power at the Federal level are nefariously silencing those who stand for unity and togetherness.
You seem to argue that there is no alternative other than getting back on Facebook.
It is easy for others to say “leave Facebook” and to log off as a way of protest; but Facebook is the largest media platform in the world. They have effectively monopolized the industry of information sharing; being silenced on Facebook is effectively lynching our first amendment right of a free press, fifth amendment right protection of liberty, and our human right to speak—especially when the Ghion Journal espouses unity and love. 
No, it is not "easy", but there is no alternative unless you want to be a part of the "system of global oppression". You either seek truth or you are banned in this era of "deception and subterfuge" that so effectively serves the ruling capitalist classes. Is this not the fundamental choice?

Monday, September 18, 2017

Condemned to Repeat It: History as Rerun

Click here to access article by Jason Hirthler from The Greanville Post

In this rather lengthy article the author looks at a variety of events from current news to early 20th century US history to illustrate his theme that the ruling capitalist class will insure that we see such events through their lens of class interests. Likewise, they will brand as "communism" any threats to their private ownership (and control) of the economy.
...the real threat to capitalism is communism, not fascism. As prolific and fearless author Michael Parenti writes, “fascism is nothing more than a final solution to the class struggle, the totalistic submergence and exploitation of democratic forces for the benefit and profit of higher financial circles.” 
The antidote to their views of events is to study the real history of class warfare instead of their fake history. I have lists of excellent resources to gain such an understanding (see here and here).

What Does the Sale of Venezuelan Oil in Currencies Other Than the US Dollar Mean?

Click here to access article originally from Mision Verdad in Spanish, translated into English and posted on TeleSur. (Thanks to Caren in northwest Oregon for alerting me to this article.)
The petrodollar is more important for US global domination than either arms exports or Hollywood culture, because it allows the US to be the biggest exporter of the dollar bills the rest of the world needs to be able to buy oil.
Most American have little or no understanding of this opening sentence. The US-led Empire's attempts at global domination means the threat of economic and military violence on countries who fail to support the Empire's interests of profit and power. Since the Vietnam War nearly bankrupted the US Treasury, the latter began in earnest to issue US Treasury securities backed by oil from Saudi Arabia and associates (which can only be purchased with US dollars) to capitalists and governments worldwide to support their increasing deficits. That is why our ruling class loves these head-chopping, medieval monarchs.  

US Treasury securities has long been regarded as one of the safest investments because they are backed by the economic and military power of the US. This means that those countries which do not support US policies, like Iraq, Iran, Libya, Syria, North Korea, Russia, etc. are threatened with, and often suffer from, both forms of power. With US government debt reaching $20 trillion dollars, many countries and capitalists are beginning to wonder about the safety of these investments, and many countries as reported in this article are starting to use alternative currencies to buy what they need. And, that is why the US is currently engaged surreptitiously and overtly in so many countries to insure US dominance. This, of course, costs money. As you can see, the deeper in debt the ruling class's government becomes, the more they use economic and military weapons against other countries. To me, this looks like a death spiral.

Meanwhile most Americans are either fast asleep or their attention is totally focused on entertainment to be bothered with such events.

Sunday, September 17, 2017

Deplorable Ignorance and Indifference of Most Americans

Click here to access article by Stephen Lendman from his website.

I must, sadly, admit that I share the Lendman's reaction to a recent Gallup pole reported in this article.
Americans are the most over-entertained, uninformed people on the planet – mostly know-nothings about domestic and geopolitical issues mattering most.
A new Gallup poll provides more evidence – 58% of respondents supporting war if peaceful methods with North Korea fail. 

CIA vetoes Chelsea Manning’s Harvard fellowship

Click here to access article by Eric London of the World Socialist Web Site.

London provides us with another dramatic illustration of how one of the Deep State's secret operational organizations, the CIA, impacts decisions in the institution of higher education. This is generally true of all institutions simply because the capitalist system is not merely an economic system, but a comprehensive social-economic system that was created (centuries ago) by a relatively tiny class of capitalists and exists for their many benefits of profit and power. In this piece he reveals that Harvard withdrew a fellowship (def.) from Chelsea Manning only days after the CIA gave strong evidence of their opposition.

(As an aside, I must take this opportunity to point out a flaw in this article which is prevalent in nearly all of the articles published by this website. I write "nearly all" because several days ago I found one exception to this rule which very much surprised me. I am referring to their usual practice of omitting any links to evidence to support their arguments from other websites. It is a common fear among bloggers that if you provide such links, readers will be diverted to other websites and might never return to the original one. Such practice conforms to the strong tendency among Trotskyists to believe that they are the font of all political wisdom, or the vanguard that we should uncritically follow. I, of course, am critical of this perspective and practice in spite of the fact that I have a general respect for the accuracy of their views expressed on their website which I have followed since it began in the middle 1990s.)