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, April 7, 2018

Recommended articles for Saturday 4/7/2018

John Newsinger, author of a new book on George Orwell’s politics, looks at how his stance as an independent socialist led him to great radicalism and terrible betrayal. (Note the Brits' rather eccentric use of the words "public schools".
Amid efforts aimed at censoring independent media, internet giants like YouTube are now moving to censor information at the behest of local governments. Though the phenomenon is not new, it appears to be expanding, as shown by YouTube’s recent decision to block a video from the Empire Files, the teleSUR program hosted by journalist Abby Martin, in 28 countries for allegedly violating “local laws” after a legal complaint was filed.

The video itself, titled “Jewish-American on Israel’s Fascism: No Hope For Change From Within,” examines the militaristic attitude increasingly shown by Israelis towards Palestinians and includes an interview with journalist Max Blumenthal. Of the 28 countries where the video is blocked, most are in Europe. The video itself is also blocked in Israel. 

Thursday, April 5, 2018

Recommended articles for Thursday 4/5/2018

Easter is a confusing time. The dates change and the interface between chocolate, the Judeo-Christian faith and bunnies is vague at best.

What has become clearer this holiday however is that the United States of America is governed by an imbecile.

1.5°C of warming is closer than we imagine, just a decade away

Click here to access article by David Spratt from Climate Code Red.
Global warming of 1.5°C is imminent, likely in just a decade from now. That’s the stunning conclusion to be drawn from a number of recent studies, surveyed below.

So how does hitting warming of 1.5°C a decade from now square with the 2015 Paris Agreement’s goal of “holding the increase in the global average temperature to well below 2°C above pre-industrial levels and pursuing efforts to limit the temperature increase to 1.5°C”? In two words, it doesn’t.

The Paris text was a political fix in which grand words masked inadequate deeds.
Indeed, it was a political fix--or an excuse--to allow time for capitalists to continue to practice their addiction to ever more profits and power at the expense of our Mother Earth who gave birth to us and all living things. Aiding in the addiction is the arrogant delusion derived from the old myth that humans can conquer nature, that humans can control the natural system and continue to extract resources from the planet for their endless benefit. 
And God blessed them, and God said to them, Be fruitful and multiply, and replenish the earth, and subdue it: and have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over every living thing that moveth upon the earth.  Genesis 1:26 

Wednesday, April 4, 2018

The Government, that Honors Dr. Martin Luther King with a National Holiday, Killed Him

Click here to access article by Edward Curtin from The Greanville Post. (Added to commentary at 11 AM Seattle time.)

On the 50th anniversary of the assassination of another great American leader who posed serious difficulties for the Empire's ruling class, Curtin provides a review of a new book, The Plot to Kill King, by William Pepper. Pepper is an attorney who has thoroughly researched the assassination during the past several decades,and was hired by the King family to expose the truth. Curtin writes:
Pepper shows how the mainstream media and government flacks have spent years covering up the truth of MLK’s murder through lies and disinformation, just as they have done with the Kennedy and Malcom X assassinations that are of a piece with this one.

But since this is a book review and not a book, I will stop listing Pepper’s very detailed and convincing findings. While he may not have answered every aspects of the case, and may be mistaken in some small details, he has proven beyond a shadow of a doubt the basic fact that James Earl Ray did not kill Martin Luther King, but that this great and dangerous leader was killed by a conspiracy organized at the highest levels of government.

The Plot to Kill King will mesmerize any reader seeking the truth about MLK’s assassination.
However, I wish to emphasize that the order to kill King was not that of the government, but the invisible ruling capitalist class directorate, or the Deep State (top financiers, industrial corporate executives, and their dedicated ideologues) that controls the government and every other institution. The Deep State directed the government agencies, specifically the FBI, local Memphis police, and assorted government officials to carry out the order and ordered their corporate media to collaborate with the necessary coverup and "explanation" of the event.

As a side note, I wish to qualify what William Pepper wrote in his book:
To understand his death, it is essential to realize that although he is popularly depicted and perceived as a civil rights leader, he was much more than that. A non-violent revolutionary, he personified the most powerful force for the long-overdue social, political, and economic reconstruction of the nation.
He was a civil rights leader up until he realized in 1967 that civil rights was tied to the issue of the Vietnam War. This was best expressed in his speech entitled "Beyond Vietnam" delivered exactly one year before his assassination on April 4, 1967. There was already a massive anti-war movement occurring and the ruling class feared that the civil rights movement would add substantially to the existing opposition to the war. I believe that this is when the Deep State considered King to be dangerous and had to be assassinated. 

(Regarding the assassination, you may also be interested in reading an article entitled "The ‘Crucifixion’ of the Black Messiah" by Greg Maybury also from The Greanville Post.) 

Monday, April 2, 2018

Oklahoma teachers strike as workers’ upsurge spreads in US

Click here to access article by Tom Hall from World Socialist Web Site.

Due to personal issues I have been rather remiss on reporting the wave of strikes across America by teachers. This website has been covering it well.
The mainstream media has portrayed the growing strike wave among teachers as a “red state rebellion” against Republican-led austerity measures. However, the situation in Oklahoma, West Virginia and elsewhere is by no means unique to Southern states with Republican governors and Republican majorities in the state legislature. Last month, teachers in Jersey City, New Jersey went on strike, and teachers in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania voted for strike action. In 2015, teachers in Detroit staged sickouts in opposition to atrocious conditions in their schools.

The disastrous situation facing public schools and educators is the result of a national and international ruling-class policy of slashing social spending to pay for surging military budgets and bolster the profits of the banks and corporations.
You may also be interested to listen to a 23:36 minute interview (the first part of Henwood's program) with Jennifer Berkshire, a journalist who has closely reported on the wave of strikes and the strategy of the "right" (her word) to destroy public education. The interview was conducted on March 22nd by Doug Henwood of KPFA, a listener sponsored radio station in Berkeley, California.

Notice particularly that these two people are thoroughly indoctrinated in the conventional view of two political parties that compete for votes in "democratic" elections. The ruling capitalist class control both parties in the style of good cop/bad cop (Democratic Party/Republican Party) to fool most Americans into believing that they live in a democracy. Although they both acknowledge that the Democratic Party is doing nothing to back the teachers, they both seem surprised. Yet, they continue to impose this political construct on the issue throughout the interview. This delusion affects most Americans and is a major barrier to further progress against the ever increasing fascist direction that the ruling class is heading.

Of particular interest to me was the accurate observation by both people that there was an effort to destroy communities across America because they represent the last grass-roots resistance to "the right-wing", as they saw it.
Henwood: This is an interesting point. Schools in a lot of communities are sort of gathering points, a real institution that keeps communities together. The right doesn't really like that, does it.

Berkshire: No, not at all. That's why it's an interesting thing to pay attention to. Because the extent that you have real resistance among the Republicans to these ideas .... These schools are community groups and people understand that blowing them up would mean the end of these communities.

Henwood: And post offices, too. They like to talk about communities, but they want to destroy any institution that keeps them together.

Berkshire: Those are the last two institutions that we feel entitled to as Americans ... and they're hell bent on going after them. That's why I think it's a missed opportunity for Democrats. 

Recommended articles for 4/2/2018

The owners of these companies, the capitalist class, have off-shored millions of jobs as well as their personal and company tax liabilities to boost their profits and have bankrupted economies. We see the results in terms of austerity, unemployment, powerlessness, privatization, deregulation, banker control of economies, corporate control of food and seeds, the stripping away of civil liberties, increased mass surveillance and wars to grab mineral resources and ensure US dollar hegemony. These are the interests the politicians serve.

It’s the ability to maximise profit by shifting capital around the world that matters to this class, whether on the back of distorted free trade agreements, which open the gates for plunder, or through coercion and militarism, which merely tear them down.

The Geo-Political Poker Game: Where’s the 'Off-Ramp'?

Click here to access article by Alastair Crooke from Sic Semper Tyrannis (thus always to tyrants). 

I regard Crooke as one of the top geopolitical analysts. As a Brit who has worked for the British version of the CIA (MI-6) and various diplomatic posts, he is eminently qualified. In this piece he continues with his description of Trump's political style which he has identified as "Art of the Deal", a very risky high stakes poker strategy that he used in building his real estate empire, to see how it will play out in the upcoming important geopolitical events in the next two months. Referring to this political style, Crooke writes:
... in the sphere of geo-politics this is not so easy. In the next months, but climaxing in May (other things being equal), Trump will put his negotiating theory to the test in a very different ambit to that of New York real estate. The North Korean summit should be held; the verdict on the nuclear agreement with Iran is due to be pronounced then; the US Israeli-Palestinian determination is scheduled to be ‘handed down’ in May; the Sunni states’ Iran containment roles to be set; and any punitive tariffs on China will be decided, and enacted. Although apparently disconnected issues, their clustering together in May will inter-connect them: Success or failure in one, will leach into parallel spheres.
Crooke then asks the following critically important question and speculates about the dangerous dilemma that the possible outcomes pose for the "players" (the factions in the US ruling class and other ruling classes) in this poker style game which puts all of humanity at risk.
... what happens if someone calls the bluff? .... What happens, more importantly, if the bluff is shown for what it is – a bluff, widely and publicly? 
(You might also be interested in the latest development of the Skripal poisoning drama as posted on Moon of Alabama.)

Sunday, April 1, 2018

Will America accept its defeat or will it challenge the Russian Bear and the Chinese Dragon?

Click on part 2 and part 3 of a series of three by Elijah J. Magnier from his blog. (Added some content to my commentary at 1:10 PM Seattle time.)

Magnier is a Kuwaiti independent journalist with a very intimate knowledge of the conflicts in the Middle East especially since the beginning of the 21st century. In this series he summarizes the events that led to the defeat of the US Empire in Syria which he regards as pivotal in creating a challenge to the Empire's dominance in the world since WWII. 

Part 1 of the series largely sums up the conflict in Syria, but in parts two and three he develops the above thesis regarding this challenge which directly leads to the question in the title: "Will America accept its defeat or will it challenge the Russian Bear and the Chinese Dragon?". This is the most important question of all, and all political and economic signs suggest to me that the ruling capitalist classes in the USA and across their Empire will not accept defeat simply because the Deep State directors of the ruling class are "still living in the era of 1991". Besides that, the Empire's ruling capitalist class has with its (metaphorical) printing machine ran up a debt of nearly $21 trillion dollars, which is a debt that they largely own and can only recover if they dominate the world. It is a gross understatement to declare that we are living in dangerous times.
The US is still living in the era of 1991 when the Soviet Union collapsed. Its strong decline continued until the arrival of President Vladimir Putin to power in 2000. Washington realised there is a new person at the Kremlin in the castle of the Tsars with a determined intention to restore the lost glory. Russia had only nuclear weapons at that time and nothing else but the will was strong for the Russian bear to wakeup from its hibernation.

Putin did not declare war on America but extended his hand and tried to build friendship or at least not enmity. But Washington saw in Moscow the potentiality to recover in a couple of decades and worked on slowing down the process or interrupting it if possible. This is why the US started to pull to its side many countries of the ex-Soviet Union which have declared independence and include these in NATO and in the European Union surrounding Russia.

China, which includes cheap labor and can clone any commercial or military technology, like Russia has perceived America’s fear of its rapid economic development and wealth. Thus, the Chinese-Russian rapprochement was mainly created by the aggressive US policy towards the two countries, and this mainly because the American concentrate exclusively on military muscle when dealing with the World.