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

Thursday, December 14, 2017

The Year of the Headless Liberal Chicken

Click here to access article by CJ Hopkins from CounterPunch. (At 8:00 PM Seattle time on 12/15/2017, I added a link and expanded at bit on my commentary.)

I love Hopkins as a writer. Consider this as a masterful antidote to all the ruses that our ruling class have imposed on us especially since Trump's unplanned-for election. However, liberals, mainly the upper-middle class (and their wannabees) who identify with the ruling capitalist class, are the butt of his extended lampoon. They are immune to any antidote because they are the "house niggers" (Big Brother Google, concerned that you might become aware of the history of racism in the USA, removed this video from YouTube--simply because they "own" YouTube. So now we can only videos like this video when Malcolm described them more politely as a "house Negro" and thus passed Google censors) who love their capitalist masters more than themselves while working in their corporate offices. 

Here is a sample of Hopkins' writing in the article:
Look, I know what you’re probably thinking, but it isn’t like liberals don’t actually care about fundamental liberal values like freedom of the press and speech and all that. It’s just that they desperately need the Democrats to take back the House and the Senate next year, so they can get on with impeaching Trump, and if they have to stand by while the corporations suppress a little leftist dissent, or, you know, transform the entire Internet into a massive, mind-numbing echo chamber of neo-McCarthyite corporate conformity … well, sacrifices have to be made.

Harvard Experiment Finds Large Effects From Small News Outlets

Click here to access article by Jason Alcorn from MediaShift(Material added at 10:08 PM Seattle time.)

The researchers found that even small internet outlets such as Truthout, Ms., Yes!, etc, can have a very significant influence on people's attention in their communications as measured by Twitter. 

You can see the reasons for doing this kind of research: to further refine how corporate media corporations shape news events.  This has been common knowledge for many decades. That is precisely why our capitalist masters like to invest in major media even though they are by and large not profitable. It's because major media corporations are powerful in shaping news and opinions of the general public which always ends up supporting the interests of the tiny ruling class of capitalists in opposition to the general interest. This is precisely why Jeff Bezos (Amazon corporation) bought The Washington Post. Our ruling class already know this, and they've known it for many years. The tip-off is suggested in the concluding naive questions: 
If mostly small publishers working in small collaborations can influence conversation so significantly, what of non-profit news collaborations, local newspapers, and television news? What of collaborations between all three?
Of course, you and most of the people who follow this blog know that major media have for a number of years collaborated to dumb-down, mislead, and deceive the general public. The challenging implication from this is that we, the people, must find a way to establish our own media. Otherwise we will continue on down the road of ignorance and deception while capitalists, because of their addictions to profits and power, will destroy all of humanity.

The ruling class controls every institution to insure that they serve their interests. As a way of illustration to demonstrate this insight, I recommend reading "How Hollywood sold us the (good) Korean War" by Patrice Greanville. This very popular TV series (M*A*S*H) sold imperialism as entertainment to the gullible American people.

Wednesday, December 13, 2017

China’s drivers and planetary ecological collapse

Click here to access article by Richard Smith, PhD in economics, posted as a PDF file in the latest professional journal of the Real-World Economics Review.

Unfortunately this author has a very common name which has caused me endless minutes/hours to access his writings or to verify writings by him. However, I have no doubts that this is the same "Richard Smith" who has authored an article (entitled "Capitalism and the Destruction of Life on Earth") which I consider a "foundational" article that supports my concerns about the prospect of climate destabilization that is now facing humans.

I am posting this scholarly article by him because it offers another rather comprehensive view of China's political and economic policies with particularly emphasis on environmental issues. I have had considerable difficulty in accessing unbiased articles in alternative websites about China's policies in relation to the issue of climate destabilization. Recently articles authored by Jeff Brown of China Rising have been posted and re-posted on alternative websites, but I consider him as too much of a cheerleader for all things China nowadays. He is rarely critical of anything regarding China. I offer this to you as a counter-balance to such articles, and I will leave it to you, as a critical thinker, to decide on the merits of Smith's observations about China and its leadership regarding this issue.

Tuesday, December 12, 2017

Other recommended articles for 12/12/2017

Why Assad Believes That Syria Would Not Survive a Transition to a Federal System

Click here to access article by Dmitry Minin from Strategic Culture Foundation

Minin merely describes President Assad's position regarding a federal system for that country. I would go much further by asserting that Assad is absolutely right, and that a federal system as proposed is designed to fragment a country and create antagonisms along ethnic lines. It is a thinly disguised weapon that the British ruling class has so often used to create tensions in their former colonies. It is a version of the old divide and conquer strategy to create divisions, conflicts, and chaos. Apparently the British ruling class thought that if they can't control a nation, then the latter should be punished with never ending conflict. 

Probably the most famous example is their breakup of their colonial possession of India into Muslim and predominately Hindu sections which are today represented by Pakistan and India. This produced the ongoing hostile relations between the two countries and the ongoing, never-ending conflicts in Kashmir. Then the British applied this strategy to the Middle East by establishing a European ethnic group, European Jews, as a nation in the middle of their former British colonies. 

This is precisely the weapon that subversive agents of the US-led Empire have been using in Iraq by supporting the Kurds and more surreptitiously the more fundamentalist and disaffected Sunnis to create political weakness in Iraq in the aftermath of their invasion, and more recently by organizing, funding, etc, ISIS, a terrorist army to overthrow the Syrian government. Although failing in Syria with the funding of opposition groups, these agents of subversion latched onto the Syrian Kurds to use them in the same strategy to dismember Syria.

You will notice that I carefully posed my position on this issue by stating "a federal system as proposed" by the adherents of such an arrangement. A federal arrangement that did not divide a country up into ethnic groups or religion would be acceptable. But Empire agents are thoroughly dishonest by disguising their strategy as simply one of federation. In any case, no outside agents should be involved in geopolitical arrangements in the Middle East or anywhere else. But, in this era of advanced capitalism, the scourge of imperialism will have to be defeated by the defeat of capitalists everywhere--or else: the very survival of humans depends on the outcome of this conflict.

The majority of the issues facing all people today derive from one basic issue which I have been developing throughout my eight years of blogging: whether economic property is to be owned and controlled by individuals (either as individuals or collectively as shareholders) or whether such property will be democratically owned and managed by and for the people residing in the various regions of our planet Earth. That is the most fundamental question of our era! The outcome of this struggle will decide whether we humans continue to exist or whether we will become extinct: either in the long term due to catastrophic climate destabilization or in the short term due to nuclear wars. 

Which side are you on? Are you on the side of the overwhelming majority of humanity or on the side of this tiny class of "owners"? Are you on the side of nature and its preservation, or are you on the side of the tiny numbers of "owners" of economic property?

Monday, December 11, 2017

Iran’s 1979 revolution picked up the People’s torch first lit in 1917 Russia

(Edited for errors at 4PM Seattle time.)

Click here if you wish to access an article (posted on A bird's eye view of the Vineyard) that I believe illustrates a profound insight: no one person can be absolutely knowledgeable about everything or anything, there are no absolutely "authoritative sources", there are no absolute experts, there are no enlightened or superior humans who we all must unquestionably follow, etc.  I am sorry for people who believe otherwise, and most people do, as does Ramin Mazaheri, an Iranian-American. I will try to explain why.

First off, I will try to explain why the people did not turn against the Muslim hierarchy in Iran as they did in other places like Russia against the Orthodox Church after the 1917 Revolution, in Spain against the Catholic Church in the Spanish Civil War of 1936-'38, etc; and why the  people supported the Catholic church in various places in Latin America starting in the 1950s during the Liberation Theology Movement and its activist expression in Christian base communities, reached its apogee in the 1970s-'80s, and to a diminishing extent since. However, the Vatican barely tolerated this support even though it was so popular throughout Latin America. There is a very simple explanation for this. The people supported their religious organizations when the latter supported them instead of the regime in power which typically occurs. 

On my trips to Nicaragua in the 1980s after the Sandinista Revolution I witnessed this firsthand. I met many people affiliated with the Maryknoll order (of the Catholic Church) who performed very important roles in the Nicaraguan government and supporting agencies, particularly in education and social services.

In class-ruled societies that have existed during the last 10,000 years (period of civilization) of the nearly 200,000 years of the existence of humans, most people are indoctrinated to obey, and have faith in, authority figures. All ruling classes (theocracies, military chieftains, feudal rulers, and capitalists), once they take power, realize the necessity of accomplishing this in order to secure their rule. Ruling classes have always immediately recognized that using force to intimidate people into following their exploitative rule is impractical. Thus, an authoritarian orientation among civilized people has always been the case. This simply means that humans since civilization and class rule have always looked to authorities for guidance on what to believe, how to ascertain truth, and from whom to acquire this truth. 

Nowadays, the ruling capitalist class culture endows mostly teachers, police, judges and courts, experts, corporate media talking heads, "authoritative sources", church authorities (priests, mullahs, rabbis, etc), etc, with special knowledge about reality. All the latter people are, in turn, supported by ruling capitalist classes. Likewise, capitalists punish any of their appointed authorities if their activities counter the interests of the ruling class. People like Ray Bonner, Phil Donahue, Dan Rather, Jesse Ventura, and many whistleblowers can testify to this.

The Age of Enlightenment (largely in the 18th century) had temporarily challenged these authoritarian notions with its emphasis on seeking truth through reason and evidence, and above all, science with its rigorous methods of obtaining truth. This resulted in the explosive growth of all knowledge about our physical reality ranging from nuclear physics to the farthest reaches of the universe. Soon we humans were able to harness energy to drive machines to make our lives much less burdened by drudgery. 

However, this explosive period of knowledge was nipped in the bud by the rise of capitalist classes who saw the wondrous potential that all this knowledge could bring them if the energy, machines, the products of the latter, money, and even knowledge itself could be "owned" by them. The capitalist classes recruited workers and peasants with deceptive promises that they would enjoy "democracy" (read, for example, the "Declaration of Independence") if they joined them to overthrow the rule of the monarchy and aristocracy whose rule was based on their control over land and its inhabitants. They succeeded beyond their wildest dreams. Although ordinary working people were freed from feudal authorities, they soon found themselves at the mercy of their capitalist bosses.

Today all this "enlightenment stuff" is largely forgotten. People are taught to obey, consume, and work hard for their bosses. Oh sure, a small minority of them are allowed to receive advanced training in technology so that capitalists can own and profit from the products of this technology. Still, these scientists and technologists are thoroughly indoctrinated in the virtues of living in capitalist societies. They are induced to identify with capitalist interests (profit and power) by offering them a comfortable life style, many extra privileges that are denied to ordinary workers, and opportunities to associate often with the ruling capitalist class.