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

Friday, January 19, 2018

Rep. Gabbard Speaks Truth to Power about the Real Reason North Korea has Nukes

In this post I am departing from usual practice of posting articles from the web and offering my commentary. 

I received an email from Dave Ratcliffe of ratical.org alerting me to Dave Lindorff's post which includes Lindorff's comments on an interview (transcript included in the post) with Congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard (Hawaii) conducted by George Stephanopolos and broadcast on ABC News. Below I am quoting Ratcliffe's email introduction to this post. So, I advise you to read the Dave Lindorff's post first, and then read Ratcliffe's emailed introduction as follows:
The following highlights the straight-jacket thinking enveloping virtually all national legislators - including the incisive and straight-talking Representative from Hawaii. In the January 14 ABC News transcript at the bottom of this message, Congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard states clearly, "we've got to understand North Korea is holding on to these nuclear weapons because they think it is their only protection from the United States coming in and doing to them what the United States has done to so many countries throughout history." After then being asked, "Was it a mistake for the United States to take out Gaddafi and Hussein?" Gabbard responds, "It was. Absolutely." How clearly does any Federal legislator ever address head-on what Ms. Gabbard does here? And yet, in contrast to this, earlier in the transcript, Gabbard states, "We absolutely need to bolster our ballistic missile defense system, specifically for Hawaii and for this country." The fantasy of pursuing so-called missile defense capabilities serves to increase the risk of war by promoting a chimerical will-o'-the-wisp shield from that which cannot be protected against. (The Global Network Against Weapons and Nuclear Power in Space provides a diverse archive of Useful Links on Missile 'Defense'.) The supreme necessity is to exercise our inborn intelligence and common sense to critique and assess what is presented by media, academicians, and state actors, and decide for ourselves what is down-to-earth and what we spend our energy and time engaged in.

The End Of The Road For Capitalism Or For Us All? (a "best post")

Click here to access article by William Bowles posted on Dandelion Salad. (Again, I must thank my online friend and supporter, Christopher of northwest Oregon, for alerting me to this fine article.)

My god! I share so much of Bowles' perceptions about how British socialists were so fooled in the post-WWII years by the master class of capitalists, his anxiety about the tenuous condition of human existence, and his urgent plea for activists to get informed and off their asses and do something about it!
I opened this essay with Engels’ prophetic quote, written 135 YEARS AGO would you believe! And unless we, the people call a halt to industrial capitalism now, and I mean right now, we are doomed as a species and we have also doomed our amazingly beautiful planet that took Nature billions of years to evolve in an intricate dance of physical, chemical and biological relationships.
I have only very minor disagreements with some of his statements which I would mostly characterize as quibbling. Some examples: In the above quote he uses the expression "industrial capitalism". Capitalism as it exists today is a mixture of  both financial and industrial capitalism. So, why use any adjective in front of "capitalism"?! Then he states that our planet is also doomed due to human activity. No! The planet will continue on. It is only a planet that can support humans and some other species that will end.

Will the Mainstream Media EVER Talk About Economic Issues?

Click here to access article by Ghada Chehade from Ghada's Soapbox (Canada). (I'm sorry for this belated post, but I only discovered it this morning.)
Everywhere I looked, people of different races and ethnicities were getting along, and gasp, even helping one another out. While I am aware that there is racial tension in the US, it was not overwhelmingly apparent, at least not on the surface (and I say this as a brown person).
This Canadian visitor of Palestinian descent writes of her recent visit to New York City. She noticed how little coverage in mainstream media compared to the reality she experienced during her visit. She uses this experience to illustrate how she has been deceived by mainstream media to distract attention from the real issues facing most Americans.
What was undeniably palpable, however, is something the MSM never talks about: the massive economic disparity in cities like NYC. If there is a glaring and unavoidable tension, it is between the classes not the races. Yes, “class,” that five letter word that no one in the west is willing to address. Everywhere I went in NYC, class was painfully apparent. The gap between the haves and have-nots was wide and oppressive.
Although she didn't make an explicit inference or argument that mainstream media is a major function of the capitalist ruling class to hide their crimes and to distract people from the issues and problems that they are really facing day-to-day, her experience clearly illustrates this insight. Therefore, the answer to the question she posed in the headline is "never", or never as long as capitalism exists ... because mainstream media is "owned" by the ruling class, and its function is to distract and hide the ruling class's self-serving power to commit their crimes of extreme inequality (tiny islands of extreme wealth among oceans of extreme poverty) as well as the many wars the US Empire has been engaged in. Our ruling masters depend on people being ignorant of reality, and the function of mainstream media and all their institutions, including entertainment and education, are designed to maintain this ignorance.

While visiting this post, I discovered an excellent explanation of another topic of our ignorance that our masters have so successfully hidden form our view--it's about money. This I will deal with in a separate post that one conscientious person listed in a comment to this article. This, too, is an illustration of how we can, if we collaborate, pierce the many veils of secrecy, deception, and distraction that our masters create to keep us ignorant.

THE AMERICAN DREAM - how debt slavery is killing us

Click here if you wish to directly access this 29:54m video from YouTube.

I found this video to be an excellent post in cartoon form which explains the hidden scams that our masters use to accumulate their wealth and power by using deceptions about money. The nearly 30 minute video is a must view for anyone interested in exposing another deception about such an important source of many of the difficulties we are facing. 

It is necessarily rough because this video attempts in 30 minutes to explain how our present money system has developed over the last 10,000 years. It appears to me that many people are becoming aware of parts of this phenomenon, but don't understand all of it and how it plays into our present difficulties with gross inequality and endless wars. I certainly don't, but I am trying, and with your help we may succeed, and continue on by creating an economic and financial system that can live in harmony with nature and serve all of the people. 

Many people think that getting rid of the Fed and having the government issue money will solve all our problems. I'm convinced that this isn't true. Although private control of money preceded capitalism, I think that this privatization of money issuance along with all the other private controls of our economy is built into the capitalist system so systematically that we must replace them both if we are to survive.

Thursday, January 18, 2018

Gallup: Americans Distrust News Media — Especially Online

Click here to access article by Eric Zuesse from The Greanville Post. (I thank my online friend and supporter, Christopher in northwest Oregon, for alerting me to this article. I wish others of my longtime and loyal followers would do the same, or at least post comments to my posts and commentaries.)
Gallup’s latest finding in America is thus showing the U.S. portion of what is, actually, a global problem, which extends beyond merely the media, and beyond merely the United States. The super-rich keep getting richer and richer, while the rest of the population either stays the same or else gets even poorer and angrier than they were before. Increasingly, around the world, publics are coming to see the ‘news’ as being shaped by the owners of, and advertisers in, the ‘news’media.
Although Zuesse ends up on a positive view of this Gallup report, positive to those who are aware that an information attack is ongoing by the capitalist class against ordinary people, I am not so impressed. The first finding that discouraged me was this from the report.
Remarkably, the partisan breakdown of the 69% who thought this to be “a major problem” isn’t what one would expect if one equates “Republicans” with “conservatives,” and Democrats with non-“conservatives”: whereas 76% of Republicans said “major problem” here, only 61% of Democrats did. (72% of Independents did.) Republicans dissented from capitalism, on this question, even more than did Democrats. On this crucial issue, Republicans are more progressive than Democrats are; Democrats are the most conservative (and pro-capitalist) of the three groups.
Likewise, I was not encouraged by this finding:
Distrust of the news media has soared in recent decades; so that, whereas “In 1989, 25% of U.S. adults said there was a great deal of political bias in news coverage; now, 45% do.”
Our ruling masters in the capitalist classes have many ways to infiltrate our minds with their self-serving propaganda and/or distract us from the real issues. They have fallback methods that they employ if their management of news and information fails. This is readily apparent in the explosion of online alt-right and alt-lite websites stirring up conflicts among various segments of the population and inciting hatred towards each other. This can be seen as a counterpart to the more direct violence that has been created by them directed at various nations known as the Salvador Syndrome or chaos strategy. Then if all else fails, they are increasingly moving toward censorship of websites. Our capitalist masters can track success by using their well established methods of 24/7 surveillance of the internet including collaborating social websites.

Wednesday, January 17, 2018

From the dream to a nightmare

Click here to access article by Patrick Nielsen from Socialist Review (Britain). 

Many writers have been trying to explain why the Russian Revolution of 1917 ultimately failed to create a workers' run society, instead it devolved into rule by a bureaucratic class headed by a paranoid dictator. Bourgeois writers, of course, argue that it was fated to be this way.
The argument goes: “Look what happened in Russia. Doesn’t Stalin’s rise show how revolution, however well-intentioned people are, always ends in a despotic leader and tyrannical rule?” In other words, they argue that there is a straight line from the October Revolution to the Stalinist regime of more than a decade later. 
Nielsen injects his own explanation partly favoring the Bolsheviks' valid argument that a militant international worker's organization was required to thwart attempts by capitalists in all the advanced industrial countries who would have of necessity back numerous attempt to crush this worker's revolution. However, Nielsen resorts to the old capitalist argument that leadership is required to bring about success, and that Bolsheviks' failure was caused by a lack of leadership.
For a brief period it looked like the Russian workers would be joined by the European proletariat. However, one by one these struggles were beaten. What was lacking was not the Europe-wide crisis, nor the willingness of workers to fight, but revolutionary leadership armed with political clarity and organisational experience which could lead the mass of workers in the way that the Bolsheviks had done in Russia. It was a weakness the Bolsheviks recognised and laboured to overcome. Though they didn’t succeed, this doesn’t mean it was a struggle that was doomed from the start, as modern day critics from both right and left argue.
I think that we should recognize that "good guys" don't always win (even with good leadership), and instead recognize the reality that numerous conditions, like famine, disease epidemics, the horrific WWI causalities, backing of Russian counter-revolutionary armies by capitalist countries, and the invasions of numerous capitalist countries after the end of WWI, all took a tremendous toll on the Bolsheviks and resulted in the Stalinist faction taking control.

In the 1930s the Western capitalist countries supported the rise of fascist parties all over Europe which led to the rise of Nazi Germany and its long-held plans to conquer the Soviet Union. Because the Soviet bureaucratic central planning enabled the economy to grow at a great pace plus the Soviet citizens' awareness that the Nazi's racist-fascist victory would turn the Soviet Union into a colony of Germany and its citizens into slaves, the Soviet Union was able, with a little belated help from the West, to break the back of the German armies.

How does Trump survive? He pays off the ruling class

Click here to access article by Fred Goldstein from Workers World.

True to his essentially fascist character, Trump respects power and has aligned most of is policies to serve the interests of the real holders of power--the capitalist ruling class. In spite of Trump's cloddish behavior, the ruling class will milk this appeasing character trait for all its worth until the time is ripe to replace him.
As long as Trump is in the presidency, the bankers and bosses are going to get much of their way with respect to profits, business, money. Under the various Democratic and Republican administrations, they have been chipping away at public land and coastline, at bank regulations, at environmental regulations, etc. But now they are enjoying unusually expanded freedom to plunder the land and the sea. They are exulting in the cuts on corporate taxes, from 35 percent to 21 percent, and billions from other cuts. Whatever Trump’s shortcomings, they can overlook them for now, because the billionaires don’t want the gravy train to stop.

Tuesday, January 16, 2018

The Daniel Ellsberg Story You Won’t See in ‘The Post’

Click here to access an interview with Daniel Ellsberg in a podcast with transcript that is posted on WhoWhatWhy.

Ellsberg addresses the vital need for an upgrade of the chaotic system in place that, based on his earlier experience, likely gives wide authority for many commanders to start a nuclear war. He also addresses all the overwhelming and devastating consequences of such a war for our species. It won't be entertaining like Star Trek and Star Wars. A most fascinating interview.

Monday, January 15, 2018

This is what too often passes as "alternative media" in the USA: "Fake News: WASHINGTON POST Evades Martin Luther King’s Communist Links"

by Ron Horn

I was fascinated by the article, posted in a self-proclaimed "alternative media", which attempts to tarnish the image and memory of one of our greatest leaders, Martin Luther King, Jr., with FBI surveillance reports of his links to Communists and his scandalous sexual behavior. 

With examples of alternative media postings like this, we don't need the Washington Post, NY Times, etc. Apparently the editor of The Unz Review wasn't satisfied with MLK's assassination, Ron Unz wants his memory smeared with Communist associates and sexual escapades--all this within a framework of attacking mainstream media!

Rosa Luxemburg – Reform or Revolution

Click here to access article by Alan Woods and Niklas Albin Svensson from In Defense of Marxism

In the early 20th century Luxemburg was another leader of the people against the ruling capitalist classes that ruled over the most powerful nations. As such, she also had to be eliminated by assassination by the criminal gang of capitalists. However, before she was assassinated, she wrote many articles and books which are still relevant today. Reform or Revolution (1899) is probably at the top of this list. 

Reformist liberals have always posed threats to revolutionary organizations. We still have many such people among us today arguing that we should not take on the capitalist system because it reflects human nature (or any number of other reasons), but we should seek reforms of the system that people can live with. After devastating two world wars, a long dangerous Cold War, many mini-wars, tiny islands of wealth among oceans of poverty, the looming prospect of climate destabilization, her arguments in Reform and Revolution are as relevant today as they were over 100 years ago. 

What we learned about the climate system in 2017 that should send shivers down the spines of policy makers

Click here to access article by David Spratt from Climate Code Red (Australia).
Much of what happened in 2017 was predictable: news of climate extremes became, how can I put it … almost the norm. There was record-breaking heat on several continents, California’s biggest wildfire (extraordinarily in the middle of winter), an ex-tropical cyclone hitting Ireland (yes, Ireland) in October, and the unprecedented Hurricanes Harvey, Irma and Maria that swept through the Atlantic in August. The US government agency, the NOAA, reported that there were 16 catastrophic billion-dollar weather/climate events in the USA during 2017.

And 2017 “marks the first time some of the (scientific) papers concluded that an event could not have occurred — like, at all — in a world where global warming did not exist. 

We Need a Martin Luther King Day of Truth

Click here to access article by Edward Curtin from his blog.

Curtin provides a fitting remembrance of MLK on this special day which is ignored by most American businesses. He begins his article with this profound insight:
As Martin Luther King’s birthday is celebrated with a national holiday, his death day disappears down the memory hole. Across the country – in response to the King Holiday and Service Act passed by Congress and signed by Bill Clinton in 1994 – people will be encouraged to make the day one of service. Such service does not include King’s commitment to protest a decadent system of racial and economic injustice or non-violently resist the U.S. warfare state that he called “the greatest purveyor of violence on earth.”

Government sponsored service is cultural neo-liberalism at its finest, the promotion of individualism at the expense of a mass movement for radical institutional change.

“Nothing in all the world is more dangerous,” warned Dr. King, “than sincere ignorance and conscientious stupidity.”
I think a MLK Day of Truth would be too much for most Americans, who have been raised on patriotic myths, to handle. It would mean that most Americans would be required to reconcile these myths with the reality that we live under a psychopathic criminal gang of liars, thieves, and murderers. So, let us not fantasize about days of truth, because there won't be any. Let us, that is, those of us who unflinchingly can face the truth, plan and organize to rid ourselves of this nightmarish capitalist scourge upon the planet and its humans.

Sunday, January 14, 2018

One Hundred Years Ago: The Bolsheviks Seized Power, but Could They Hold It?

Click here to access article by Michael Jabara Carley from Strategic Culture Foundation.

Canadian Professor Carley describes the conundrum posed by the new Soviet government to the allies in WWI. While Lenin and Trotsky tried to seek a general armistice among civilians across Europe, allied ruling class leaders were thrown into confusion about how to deal with the new Soviet government.
Lenin’s idea was to mobilise European public opinion against the war and provide propaganda for militants in the west who wanted to make their own October Revolutions. As Trotsky made clear, the Soviet government desired a general, not a separate peace, so soldiers in Europe could turn their bayonets against their own bourgeois elites.

At a meeting in Paris at the beginning of December (new style), the Entente powers could not agree on a collective reply to Trotsky’s call for an armistice on all fronts. Once anyone started to talk peace, the Italian foreign minister noted, French and Italian soldiers would refuse to take up arms again. Prime Minister David Lloyd George feared “a rot would set in” over continuing the war. The Bolsheviks were counting on just that. It was not an unrealistic calculation: even Allied leaders feared popular anti-war opposition. A general armistice was therefore out of the question. The Allies agreed to stop shipping supplies to Russia and to start generous funding of “pro-Allied propaganda” hoping an acceptable Russian government would replace the Soviets.

CIA and the Assassination of Leaders Overseas

Click here to access article by Vladimir Platov from New Eastern Outlook

Although I couldn't find any information about Platov, he clearly knows about what he writes. I already knew much of his history of US assassinations, but with Cornelius Rhoades I was stumped. I did a little research, and sure enough, Rhoades was as Platov described him. Of course, US media corporations, whose mission is to protect the US capitalist ruling class, omits much of this history; and when they do write about it, they downplay and obscure the significance of such incidents. Thus, it seems as though the vast majority of Americans continue to believe that we live in the "land of the free and the home of the brave", and our government (and especially its military) has a right to act as an "indispensable nation" to protect the human rights of people all over the world. The reality is that the USA functioned much like organized crime as they constructed their new empire out of the detritus of the old capitalist European ruling classes following the devastation of WWII.
The history of the US Central Intelligence Agency is replete with numerous examples of political assassinations, not only in the US, but also of leaders of countries Washington disagrees with. So today, the CIA has actively begun developing various methods for the deliberate elimination of the US’s newest political opponent, North Korean leader Kim Jong-un, involving not only special forces in this task, but also the special services of countries that cooperate closely with the CIA.
The CIA, along with numerous other clandestine government agencies, was a key feature of the post-WWII launching of the US Empire. Such agencies, which were unaccountable to the public, were assigned to combat the influences of any movement or leaders that interfered with the sanctity of private property and the prerogatives of capitalists who "owned" and controlled economic property: mainly the US capitalist class and other capitalists who joined them in the plunder of wealth created by working people all over the world. Assassination of leaders was the ultimate weapon in the arsenal of weapons that was used. Other weapons were also used: disinformation spread by media corporations, infiltrating their agents into working class organizations to sow discord and distrust, false-flag operations designed to cast blame on working class organizations, paying criminal gangs to beat up workers, etc. (See this, this, this, this, and this.)