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, November 4, 2017

"Everything [indeed] is terrible"

by Tom Tomorrow

Today's recommended articles (11/4/2017)

by Ron Horn
Then there are two posts by The Saker featuring Russian TV programs (here and here) which lampoons the current political scene in the US. Although the guests on these TV programs entertained the Russian audience with hilarious stories about their experiences with US corporate media and US authorities, I, as an American, felt embarrassment and deep disgust for my country. Thus, I didn't listen to much of the second post.

The Russian Revolution: Chapter 3: The Nationalities Question

Click here to access article by Rosa Luxemburg from her book The Russian Revolution that she wrote in prison in 1918. (Difficulties are presented for present day readers in this chapter with the now obscure references she makes to events that were well known in her time. The notes help somewhat. Also she writes in the style of German writers of this era by using complex sentences.)

Russia in 1914
Whereas in chapter 2 she pointed out the contradiction of the slogan "land to the peasants" and encouraging peasants to take land from the aristocracy and to essentially privatize it (which they later permitted under NEP to encourage food production) in this chapter she points out the contradiction promulgated by the Bolsheviks in their slogan (roughly translated) "right of self-determination to the point of separation". She explains how the rudimentary capitalist classes used this slogan in the border regions of the Russian Empire (Ukraine, Poland, and Baltic lands) to further their own interests and used it to promote counter-revolutionary activities against the Bolsheviks.
How does it happen then that in all these lands the counter-revolution suddenly triumphs? The nationalist movement, just because it tore the proletariat loose from Russia, crippled it thereby, and delivered it into the hands of the bourgeoisie of the border countries.

Instead of acting in the same spirit of genuine international class policy which they represented in other matters, instead of working for the most compact union of the revolutionary forces throughout the area of the Empire, instead of defending tooth and nail the integrity of the Russian Empire as an area of revolution and opposing to all forms of separatism the solidarity and inseparability of the proletarians in all lands within the sphere of the Russian Revolution as the highest command of politics, the Bolsheviks, by their hollow nationalistic phraseology concerning the “right of self-determination to the point of separation,” have accomplished quite the contrary and supplied the bourgeoisie in all border states with the finest, the most desirable pretext, the very banner of the counter-revolutionary efforts. Instead of warning the proletariat in the border countries against all forms of separatism as mere bourgeois traps, they did nothing but confuse the masses in all the border countries by their slogan and delivered them up to the demagogy of the bourgeois classes. By this nationalistic demand they brought on the disintegration of Russia itself, pressed into the enemy’s hand the knife which it was to thrust into the heart of the Russian Revolution.

Friday, November 3, 2017

Chinese President Responds to Letter from Kim Jong Un

Click here to access article from TeleSur.
The letter suggests that relations between the two countries may soon normalize, as Xi Jinping expresses a desire to share "common prosperity."
In this report we learn that relations between China and North Korea (DPRK) seem to be warming, Chinese President's perfectly reasonable solution to the crisis between North Korea and USA, and finally it suggests the possibility that Trump in his bellicosity towards North Korea may be motivated by something other than any threat they pose with their nuclear weapons/missile developments.

Shrinking the Spectrum of Thought:

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

Hirthler describes the brave new propaganda world we now live in, and in my opinion it is an Orwellian house of horrors. It has become so distasteful to me that I have gotten rid of cable TV, and now I have only high speed internet and my radio. Now I limit my intake of trash news media by waking up to my radio alarm to listen to NPR. (Unfortunately, where I live, this is the only radio station I can receive clearly.) Waking up to such nonsense makes me angry, but I think that this is good preparation for my daily chore of posting articles (occasionally with commentaries) for you to read and think about. Waking to NPR news spurs me to action, and my posting of sane, rational articles cleanses my mind of their CIA-inspired bunkum (def.) and re-expands my spectrum of thought.
The end game is total conformity to the corporate state, which is how Mussolini defined fascism. The end game is unquestioning mental acquiescence, just as these journalists exhibited. Resistance is ultimately a battle for one’s heart and mind. We may believe we are free agents autonomously selecting beliefs from a self-created filtering system. But we’re not. The filters are imposed. So long as we are aware of their imposition, we still have a chance to fight against them.

Thursday, November 2, 2017

Today's recommended articles (11/2/2017)

Record surge in atmospheric CO2 seen in 2016 by Matt McGrath from BBC News

In Shocking, Viral Interview, Qatar Confesses Secrets Behind Syrian War by Tyler Durden

*How the DPRK riddle is freaking out the US establishment by Pepe Escobar posted in A bird's eye view of the Vineyard
This is an especially important article authored by one of world's top journalists. Escobar uses an unnamed source, but his stature among journalists is so high that he can get away with this. The article is also very challenging to understand for people, like myself, with a rather weak scientific background to interpret his statement regarding "electromagnetic pulse" (EMP) from a nuclear bomb. Also formatting poses problems because when one spells out a website address in an article, the rest of the line remains blank. Then there are concepts like Pilsudski’s Intermarium Plan against Russia with countering China by seeking to ally India, Taiwan, Japan and South Korea.
Other related articles that may be helpful in understanding this post:
North Korea Just Took the Nuclear Step Experts Have Dreaded
Regarding the Sudetenland metaphor
Tony Cartalucci-Land Destroyer talks about Baba Beijing on China Rising Radio Sinoland
In this post Jeff Brown of China Rising provides a broadcast of his reading of questions that he posed to Cartalucci as well as his answers. You will not hear Cartalucci because Brown simply reads his answers. He also provides a transcript of the conversation which I much prefer.
Tillerson: US to Build Additional De-Escalation Zones in Syria by Alex Gorka from Strategic Culture Foundation.
Gorka concludes his article with this statement:
If the US-backed coalition established the zones unilaterally to present other actors with a fait accompli, it would be the way to divide Syria contrary to what the UN-sponsored Geneva peace effort, as well as the Russia-Iran-Turkey-initiated Astana talks, has tried to achieve. If not, it should become part of international agenda. The US plan to build additional de-escalation zones was announced as a slam dunk during congressional hearings. The way it was done makes one think it’ll be a unilateral move taken to obstruct the Russia’s peace plan. The division of the country into zones controlled by opposing coalitions runs counter to the interests of Syrian people. This is a very worrisome development which can potentially hinder the prospects of stable peace in Syria.
Capitalists alarmed about capitalism by Rob Sewell from In Defense of Marxism.
Here is the link to the Financial Times' article that Sewell refers to. If you can't access the FT, a very similar post is this in the Independent.
Former FBI agent says tech companies must “silence” sources of “rebellion” by Andre Damon
Top legal and security officials for Facebook, Twitter and Google appeared before the Senate Judiciary Committee Tuesday, in a hearing targeting “Extremist Content and Russian Disinformation Online.”

Over the course of four hours, senators argued that “foreign infiltration” is the root of social opposition within the United States, in order to justify the censorship of oppositional viewpoints.
Neocons Push Dubious Paper To Allege Iran - Al-Qaeda Connection by Bernhard from Moon of Alabama.
The anti-Iran powers in the U.S. again try to smear Iran as allied with al-Qaeda. The accusations will be used to justify further hostilities against the country.

Suddenly an anonymous, and likely fake, document appears and is prominently launched into the public circulation. To provide plausibility for the publishing the new CIA director Mike Pompeo ordered his staff to release additional data allegedly found in Osama Bin Laden's compound in Abbottabad in Pakistan. 

The Russian Revolution: Chapter 2: The Bolshevik Land Policy

Click here to access article by Rosa Luxemburg from her book The Russian Revolution that was written by her in prison in 1918. (Note: I will be running the important chapters in this book over the next days.)

In this chapter she cites the socialist problems related to delivering the Bolshevik promises of land to the peasants.
The seizure of the landed estates by the peasants according to the short and precise slogan of Lenin and his friends – “Go and take the land for yourselves” – simply led to the sudden, chaotic conversion of large landownership into peasant landownership. What was created is not social property but a new form of private property, namely, the breaking up of large estates into medium and small estates, or relatively advanced large units of production into primitive small units which operate with technical means from the time of the Pharaohs.

Nor is that all!

Wednesday, November 1, 2017

Recommended articles for today (11/1/2017)

by Ron Horn (Amended to add Durden's article at 7:35 PM Seattle time.)

I especially recommend the following following articles which have information that is needed to combat the incessant disinformation spread by corporate propaganda sources like NPR (also known as the National Propaganda Radio), MSNBC, CBS, ABC, etc. 

There Are Human Beings in North Korea. Neither Wealthy Nor Poor by Kim Petersen 

Walls and Militarized Police: How Israel Is Exporting Its Occupation to US by Ramzy Baroud

Visitors to the Colony of Afghanistan by Brian Cloughley

How the US Aristocracy [Capitalist Ruling Class] Deceive the US Public by Eric Zuesse
Censorship works in various way in the US. Many authors shy away from the verboten term "ruling class" and even "capitalism". Zuesse's writing are contaminated with this feature by his constant references to "aristocracy", a term which applies to feudal regimes. The word "capitalism" has seen acceptance by more and more writers in recent years in spite of its being frowned upon by thoroughly indoctrinated writers. The preferred terms are "free market economy" or even "democracy". Notice that you won't find any reference to "capitalism" in this article, instead he uses the more acceptable term "Wall Street". To use real words to describe issues in the US can be hazardous to one's career. So, in order to reach some kind of reality in Zuesse's writings, one must always substitute real words in place of Zuesse's euphemisms.
In Shocking, Viral Interview, Qatar Confesses Secrets Behind Syrian War by Tyler Durden

The Russian Revolution: Chapter 1: Fundamental Significance of the Russian Revolution

Click here to access article by Rosa Luxemburg for her book The Russian Revolution that was written by her in prison in 1918. (Note: I will be running the important chapters in this book over the next days.)

Now that the Bolsheviks and their soviet leaders have taken power, I will be running a series of articles both to report on important events of the counter revolution with which they were faced, but also some critiques of the revolution from several other informed writers since then. The earliest writer in the last category was Rosa Luxemburg.

It would be very helpful for readers to have some understanding of the history of radical movements in order to completely understand her writings. In this first chapter you should know at little about some of the following: social democracy and Karl Kautsky.

Her first chapter praises the significance of the revolution and its leadership. Her criticisms will come later.
Only a party which knows how to lead, that is, to advance things, wins support in stormy times. The determination with which, at the decisive moment, Lenin and his comrades offered the only solution which could advance things (“all power in the hands of the proletariat and peasantry”), transformed them almost overnight from a persecuted, slandered, outlawed minority whose leader had to hid like Marat in cellars, into the absolute master of the situation.

Moreover, the Bolsheviks immediately set as the aim of this seizure of power a complete, far-reaching revolutionary program; not the safeguarding of bourgeois democracy, but a dictatorship of the proletariat for the purpose of realizing socialism. Thereby they won for themselves the imperishable historic distinction of having for the first time proclaimed the final aim of socialism as the direct program of practical politics.

Whatever a party could offer of courage, revolutionary far-sightedness and consistency in an historic hour, Lenin, Trotsky and all the other comrades have given in good measure. All the revolutionary honor and capacity which western Social-Democracy lacked was represented by the Bolsheviks. Their October uprising was not only the actual salvation of the Russian Revolution; it was also the salvation of the honor of international socialism. 

Tuesday, October 31, 2017

A selection of today's must-read articles

by Ron Horn.

I simply do not have the time today to do my usual review of articles which, in my view, have major importance in understanding critical and other major issues currently facing humans. In place of this I will simply list some articles that I hope you will read and think about.

* Pharmaceutical Firm Makes Billions by Fueling Opioid Crisis
Related articles: Afghanistan: It’s the Heroin, StupidMaking Afghanistan Safe for Heroin
* The Deep State’s JFK Triumph Over Trump 

* What is really wrong with Russia Today and Sputnik?

* The Kurdish Push For Federalization Of Syria  

Monday, October 30, 2017

The English-speaking world’s fear of calling communism, ‘communism’ [a best post]

Click here to access article by Ramin Mazaheri from The Greanville Post. (Note: It appears from what he writes that Mazaheri is an Iranian-American analyst living and working in France.)

Mazaheri scores another "best post" from me with this excellent article explaining some key socialist concepts that cannot be talked about and are "verboten" in the English speaking world. They are repressed because of the faith-based religion of capitalism that is practiced throughout the US-led Empire, and from which a tiny class of people exercise so much political power and enjoy so much wealth. Sticking with this metaphor, it is a sin to speak of these concepts as having anything to do with socialism. Hence former Greek Finance Minister Yanis Varoufakis changed the wording a bit in order to challenge the Eurozone's austerity policies. 
...even if Varoufakis rejects other key Communist tenets – one-party system, bans on capitalism, bans on far-right hate speech & groups, bans on divisive media – his entire book is based around this three-word phrase which is a thinly-veiled euphemism for the more common terms of “redistribution from rich to poor” and “central planning”.

Just say it openly, man!

Spain imposes military rule in Catalonia to preempt independence bid

Click here to access article by Alex Lantier and Alejandro López from World Socialist Web Site.
The turn to authoritarian rule in Spain is an urgent warning to the working class. Decades of deep austerity, imperialist war and the promotion of law-and-order measures across Europe since the Stalinist dissolution of the Soviet Union in 1991, and particularly since the 2008 Wall Street crash, have produced a mortal crisis of capitalist rule. With tens of millions of workers unemployed across Europe, the ruling class is aware of explosive social anger. Its response when it encounters opposition is a rapid resort to dictatorial measures.

The critical question today is the mobilization of workers in Catalonia, in Spain and across Europe in struggle against a return to authoritarian forms of rule.  

Isolating radicals: America's new academic blacklisting

Click here to access article by Steven Salaita from The New Arab

I was astonished to see this article in a rather conservative Arab website. Could it be that Zionists have more power than I thought by suppressing such an article in any left website in the US?
An emboldened right-wing media industry, long hostile to what it considers a disproportionately liberal academe, has ramped up its efforts to punish radical scholars in the wake of Donald Trump's election. 

While its proponents often conflate "liberal" and "left", there's now a long list of leftist academics who have been reprimanded or disciplined by their employers, many of them black, all of them deploring structural racism in the United States.
The same persecution has happened to the author Salaita as happened to Norman Finkelstein, and Salaita has reportedly endured so much that he is leaving academia.

Dr. Norman Finkelstein Subjected to Knock-on-Door Arrest in Middle of Night

Click here to access article by Thomas Müller from The New Nationalist.

Just the other day I was wondering about Norman Finkelstein and why I hadn't heard anything about him for some time. Finkelstein has been one of the first major critics of Israel and Zionist influence in the US, and US Zionists and Israel have never forgiven him for this. As a result he lost tenure and has been blacklisted from teaching in any US university. This morning while I was surfing the web, I found nothing in the left alternative websites about his incident. After finding some coverage on anti-Jewish websites (for example, see this), I happened upon this article which reports that he is being harassed by the police, although it mentions nothing about the Zionist backlash against him.  (And I found an excellent article about the repression of leftist academics which made reference to him on a rather conservative Arab website.) No doubt this police behavior is a part of his punishment for speaking out about Zionism and being critical of Israeli actions. 

I am astonished that I found only articles in anti-Jewish websites or, in this case, an old-fashioned conservative (anti-neoconservative) one. Why haven't left alternative sites covered this?!! Once again I am reminded how weak the US left is. They are unable to protect people who speak out or act out against its enemies; in this case, they haven't even provided coverage of Finkelstein's ongoing persecution. This has got to stop!

Sunday, October 29, 2017

Spain & the EU’s ‘Oriental despotism’ is legitimizing Catalonia as a leftist cause

Click here to access article by Ramin Mazaheri from A bird's eye view of the Vineyard.

The author. in his analysis of the Catalonia-Madrid standoff, illustrates true leftist thinking at its best in analyzing this issue.

What does it mean to be a true leftist or a true socialist? It means believing thoroughly, genuinely, and completely in DEMOCRACY--the rule of the people, by the people, and for the people. (These exact words were included in the US Declaration of Independence from Britain. The ruling embryonic capitalist class wanted ordinary people to support their drive to separate the American colonies from Britain for the capitalists' benefit. Outside of this context, have you ever heard such words?) If you, because of long years of indoctrination in capitalist controlled schools and following corporate media, can not understand this last sentence, read it over several times until you get it. (It's almost comical the way most people, including authorities, so casually affirm they are for "democracy", but have little idea of what it means.) It means that every institution of society, including especially the economy (socialism), must serve and be controlled by the people--that means ALL of the people.

True, most ordinary people as they are now are not equipped to participate in governing. But this is due to long years of indoctrination in capitalist controlled schools and following corporate media, as a result they are poorly equipped to participate in governing themselves. This is not because they are inherently ignorant and thus they must follow the guidance of "wise" authorities or "experts", it is because they have been dumbed-down and brainwashed because of long years of indoctrination and poor education. (They are primarily excluded from any significant decision-making because they don't control huge amounts of wealth. Occasionally one of the ruling class's "morons" gets elected to office.) This is a major problem for all true leftists or democrats to deal with.

Anyway read the article to see how a genuine democrat, also known as a leftist, analyzes the issue of Catalonian independence.

NFL Owner Sparks Outrage by Describing Athletes as 'Inmates'

Click here to access article from TeleSur

Actually Bob McNair, owner of the Houston Texans came close to telling the truth when he said to an ESPN reporter "We can't have the inmates running the prison". Athletes are salaried workers who are paid more as a way to, not only assuage the owners' guilt, but to pacify the athletes who daily risk life and limb to promote the profits of their owners. Notice, too, they are essentially commodities that are literally and legally traded from one owner to another. As a child I could never understand this, but then I grew up.             

Photo-Report: The North Korea Neither Trump Nor Western Media Wants The World To See

Click here to access article by Eva Bartlett from Mint Press News.

Take a visit to North Korea through the lens of Bartlett's camera, and you will discover like she did that North American media corporations have lied to you. Bartlett, unlike media corporations, is not a part of the rich and powerful, self-serving capitalist enterprise. Thus, she tells you the truth, this time with the aid of her camera.
PYONGYANG, NORTH KOREA — North Korea (the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, or DPRK) is one of the least understood and most lied about countries on Earth. In Western corporate media renditions, most news about the country is alarmist (of “the North Koreans want to kill you” type), fake (“all men have to have the same haircut,” a story originating from Washington itself), or about the North’s military.

Accounts of the nation’s military prowess and threat generally ignore (as noted here) the presence of the 28,500 U.S. troops occupying South Korea, their 38 military installations, and more recently their Terminal High-Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) battery in South Korea — “a U.S. radar system opposed by the Korean people, in the North and South, as well as China.”

On September 19, 2017, in the forum of the United Nations General Assembly, U.S. President Donald Trump vowed to “totally destroy” North Korea.