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
Friday, January 5, 2018
In this article Scheer, currently a professor at University of Southern California, interviews writer Joel Whitney who has written a new book entitled Finks: How the C.I.A. Tricked the World’s Best Writers. In addition to how the CIA used many prominent liberal intellectuals and authors as conduits for CIA's anti-communist propaganda, "Scheer and Whitney discuss these manipulations and how the CIA controlled major news agencies and respected literary publications (such as the Paris Review)."
My argument is that this history, though accurate, suffers from limitations of a liberal bias that particularly Scheer, who is much older than Whitney, expresses as he essentially shames those intellectuals, many of whom he knew personally, for collaborating with the CIA (a product of the ruling capitalist class). And in one point of the interview I can't help wondering if Scheer himself would not have succumbed also to the inducements of CIA money as he told about his befriending Nelson Aldrich, Jr., a member of America's old, rich, and powerful families and member of the ruling class. He admits trying to get money out of Aldrich.
Had Scheer and Whitney in their early careers of teaching and writing had written any material that exposed the ruling class attempts after WWII to roll-back all the reformist social benefits of FDR's administrations, both of them would not be enjoying their solid careers. (FDR and his administrations tried and succeeded to ameliorate the worst effects of the Great Depression and stave off the pressures from a growing radical movement, and thus saved capitalism.) Because these two, especially Scheer, in their careers were careful to never cross ideological red lines, they enjoy the approval of ruling class institutions and the money and respectable careers that goes with this approval. Whether consciously or not they both have succumbed to the rewards of adhering to acceptable ideological limits. So, are they not like those figures who shamefully collaborated with the CIA earlier in US history, when the political climate of the McCarthy period (and its aftermath) was more acceptable, simply because it is now safe to expose this mini history?
Thursday, January 4, 2018
- Tax cuts as a route to cutting Social Security by Pete Dolack from Systemic Disorder.
- People being warned to check systems as Intel reveals 'serious flaws' in its computer chips from TheJournal.ie.
I learned of these "serious flaws" from Financial Times that posted an article which stated "The flaws make it possible for a hacker to steal data from a computer’s core memory or from other programs running on the system." And the post went on to state that fixing the problem is almost prohibitively expensive. I agree with one commentator who essentially wrote that when auto manufacturers make faulty equipment, they are held liable to fix this fault. So why not the chip manufacturer Intel?
There have been other websites (see for example, the post in the San Francisco Chronicle) that have posted similar articles, but their content seems to downplay the problem. I am posting an article from this website so that non-subscribers to Financial Times can learn about this problem.
I can't help but wonder if this was purely an oversight on the part of Intel, and I suspect that reporting the problem was motivated by rumors that were already leaking out and spreading.
Wednesday, January 3, 2018
- Mass protests against austerity and social inequality shake Iranian regime by Keith Jones from World Socialist Web Site.
- Iranian Protests: Deep State’s Unfinished Business by Tony Cartalucci from New Eastern Outlook.
Although this article is not for the financially challenged, it offers well thought out and well developed, arguments that slowly and carefully lead to the final, and in my opinion, two crucially important questions:
So the bigger question, if Trump does pursue an economic ‘containment of China’ strategy – and China and allies respond –
iswhat will be the effect on ‘risk free’ US Treasury values in the wake of a major segment of the global economy going its own way? And what too, will be the ability of the US government then to finance its debt at its current, and growing, levels? Matters to ponder, perhaps. [my crossed-out word]
Tuesday, January 2, 2018
- Iran - Protests Decrease - Riots Increase - U.S. Prepares The Next Phase by Bernhard from Moon of Alabama.
- Hypocrisy writ large: US Empire Is Running The Same Script With Iran That It Ran With Libya, Syria by Caitlin Johnstone from The Greanville Post.
- Revolutionary ferment in the depths of Iranian society by Hamid Alizadeh from In Defense of Marxism (Britain). I only found this about the author.
The author, based on his reading of a new book by Daniel Ellsberg, makes solid arguments that the US ruling class leaders are insane by promoting a policy that was formulated in the Obama administration to upgrade nuclear weapons at a cost of $1.2 trillion dollars over the next 30 years (according to the Congressional Budget Office). After using atomic bombs on two civilian cities in Japan during WWII, our masters have continued using nuclear weapons as threats against those nations that it sees as competitors or that might interfere with their imperial plans.
Our ruling capitalist class are now so thoroughly addicted to the drugs of power and profits that they are prepared to destroy the world if they can't obtain their drugs. Meanwhile back at the imperial ranch, our masters have been indoctrinating citizens to believe that war is very entertaining. Beginning in 1966 (probably in an effort to suppress the growing anti-Vietnam War movement) their culture executives began a non-stop series of movies and TV series featuring inter-galactic wars and exotic weapons as seen in Star Trek, war as comedy in MASH movie/TV series, more exotic weapons in Star Wars, and now in the 21st century the abundance of war games on many electronic devices. Yes, war, even a nuclear war, has been sold to the gullible American public as merely entertainment. Hence, the disappearance of an effective anti-war movement.
Weapons of war are very profitable for our "merchants of death", and under our fascist rule (government + corporations = fascism) the government participates (in sharp contrast to the 1930s) in the promotion of weapons as described in the article entitled "The ‘Merchants of Death’ Survive and Prosper" from the same website.
Sunday, December 31, 2017
This very lengthy article is Part 21 of her long series of articles. Throughout her article she lists numerous instances of lies told by government officials and media corporations, and in the background she always poses the question, "Whatever Happened to Investigative Journalists?" Later in the article she gives some very good answers to this question.
However, missing from her tome is a more profound class analysis, and thus it ends up being quite naive politically. But this lack of understanding of the important role of class in determining history is common throughout American society. The capitalist ruling class has been extremely successful through their control of all institutions to censor any thought of class as a political factor. Thus, she believes that the government has been corrupted along with corporate media, and naively believes that the solution is to get rid of the corruption by investigating and exposing it!!!
At one point she comes close to the truth by writing, "To question the official 9/11 story is simply and fundamentally revolutionary", but in the next sentence she negates this insight by writing "questioning the official story is also simply and fundamentally American." Her entire article doesn't support this last statement. Yes, to question the 9/11 story and so many other stories (lies) would be to reach the conclusion that we must prepare for a revolution. That she can't handle, and that is so true of most Americans. Yet, without a revolution, we are doomed to extinction either through a nuclear war conflagration or ultimately by climate destabilization.
Vltchek has demonstrated what a real journalist does in reporting the truth, as he sees it, in his/her travels to the most war-torn areas of the world. Also, I think he has stumbled upon what is so vitally needed to overcome the forces of greed and cruelty spawned (def.#3) by the anti-human system of capitalism which sets one tiny class over the entire world's humans. He complains about the lack of support in 2015 he received from readers while suffering from exhaustion.
You and your determined work may save several villages, or if you are very good, you could make a difference on a global scale. Your writing or your films may help to stop a war. But never expect any official recognition, any practical backing or even mercy from your readers. In 2015, after making several films and writing books about several particularly horrid war zones, mostly in Africa, I totally collapsed. For several weeks, I was not able to move. I thought it was the end. There was no help at all coming from those millions of my readers living in all parts of the world. At that time I made my condition public. Still, nothing. Few letters of ‘moral support’ arrived. Few: “Be strong, the world needs you!” In the end, it was my close family circle that literally pampered and rescued me and put me back to my feet and into fighting order.What is totally lacking is an organized effort to support journalists such as Vltchek. We who see the ongoing destruction of both humans and the environment caused by capitalist rule must become aware that it will take something more than family support to confront this evil monster of capitalism. Remember capitalism puts families as the primary social unit of capitalism. This was so succinctly expressed by that British servant of capitalism, Margaret Thatcher:
This is not a reproach, just a warning to those who are getting ready to fight for the survival of humanity: “You will be totally on your own. You will most definitely collapse on several occasions.”
...you know, there's no such thing as society. There are individual men and women and there are families. And no government can do anything except through people, and people must look after themselves first. It is our duty to look after ourselves and then, also, to look after our neighbours.However, she omits (and therefore lies) that these rich families are united and highly organized under capitalist class rule.
I simply don't understand why it is so difficult for activists to realize that some greater scale of organization is needed to break the power of capitalists than the family unit. Yet, Vltchek expected greater support for his work from readers when he suffered from exhaustion in 2015 when there wasn't any organization to support him. We on the left have not moved one iota from family support to build larger organizations with clout to defend ourselves from "the slings and arrows of outrageous fortune" inflicted upon us by this tiny class of capitalists. How can we expect anything different than exhaustion, defeat, and more misery!!!?
We must put social back into the effort of building socialism. We must think in different terms than what we were raised with. We must be conscious of our indoctrination under capitalist rule and create another consciousness--or else we will perish.