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, June 16, 2018

State of the Climate – It’s Alarming!

Click here to access article by Robert Hunziker from CounterPunch. (This post is another activist contribution.)
According to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (“NOAA”) concern about CO2 is decisive: “Today’s rate of increase is more than 100 times faster than the increase that occurred when the last ice age ended.” One hundred times anything is big.

That is an unprecedented rate of growth with profound and nasty negative consequences for temperature, climate, ecosystems, and species on land and in the oceans, nothing good.

Friday, June 15, 2018

Utopia and technology

Click here to access article by economist David Ruccio from his Occasional Links & Commentary website. 

I've recently experienced the new digital technology while re-settling in another area of the country, and had considerable difficulties with it. Although it offers conveniences, I think that American companies are overdoing its introduction in an effort to reduce payroll expenses and to enhance profits. Digital technology is used by owners to reduce the normal complex interactions between their workers and customers into very narrow digital categories without workers. This is another illustration of how benefits from advances made in any field in a capitalist society always go to the rich ruling class and often at the detriment to workers and the general public.

Anyway, in an effort to keep up with latest technological developments, I thought this explanation about blockchains might clarify the subject for you and me.

Recommended articles for Friday, 6/15/2018

The world events of the past days are significant far beyond the apparent divide within the G7 industrial nations. If we imagine the planet as a giant electric force field, the lines of flux are in dramatic reordering as the post-1945 global dollar-based system comes to its disordered end phase. Europe’s political elites are currently split between rationality and irrationality. The developments to the East however are drawing more and more force and we are seeing the early phases of what might be called a geopolitical polarity reversal within the EU from West to East. The latest developments across Eurasia including the Middle East, Iran and above all between Russia and China are gaining in importance as Washington offers only war, whether trade war, sanctions war, terror war or kinetic war.
Antarctica’s glaciers are massive enough to flood every coastal city on Earth. So it’s no exaggeration to say that what happens in Antarctica over the next few decades will determine the fate of not just Miami and Mumbai, but also the course of human history. If we’re lucky and quickly start cutting emissions, Antarctica’s glaciers might mostly remain in place. The alternative is unthinkable.

There’s still so much we don’t know about Antarctica. But a series of major breakthroughs in recent years have raised the urgency and scale of scientists’ efforts. This week’s papers put that information into context. The clear takeaway: There is no sign of a slowdown in Antarctica’s melt rate.

Thursday, June 14, 2018

Brzezinski's Ghost: The Geopolitics of the Trump Administration

Click here to listen to a one hour interview with geopolitical analyst F. William Engdahl conducted by Bonnie Faulkner on her radio show called "Guns and Butter" carried on many listener sponsored stations on the Pacifica Network.

Engdahl elaborates on many subjects the late Zbigniew Brzezinski who had so much influence over anti-Russian policies and strategies because of his almost obsessive hatred of all things Russia. Brzezinski, whose family had a history in the Polish aristocracy, was brought into prominent political influence by the Rockefeller clan who were, and probably still are, key members of the Deep State. These policies, which Engdahl reviews, have continued under the neocons ziocons like Wolfowitz, the Bush clan, Rumsfeld, and in recent years, Victoria Nuland. Brzezinski's influence is seen by Engdahl to be continuing in the Trump administration.

America’s Public Are Foie-Gras Ducks

Click here to access article by Eric Zuesse from Strategic Culture Foundation

Zuesse uses a brilliant analogy to illuminate the insight that the American public is "fattened" on lies and various other deceptions in order for the ruling class (he erroneously refers to them by using a feudal term "aristocracy" instead of ruling capitalist class) to harvest and consume them at various times. He, step by political step in the election process, refers to the reality analogs that mirrors the fattening of geese to suit the interests of the rich and powerful in order to reveal the obscene nature of American "democracy". Of course, his use of the analogy is much too narrow because one can apply this analogy to the entire ideological spectrum that includes all institutions: media, education, entertainment, etc.--but I refuse to criticize him for that.
America’s voters are foie gras birds, but some of these birds (the Republicans and especially independents) are more resisting than some others (Democrats) are.

The way that America’s billionaires farm this public is by feeding to the voters the politicians, without even considering the needs — much less the wants — of that public.

Wednesday, June 13, 2018

Empire Files: Peter Joseph & Abby Martin on Abolishing Capitalism [updated with corrected links]

Click here to access access a 45 minute interview with Peter Joseph that is conducted by Abby Martin.

I initially accessed a re-posted excerpt of the interview with Joseph today, but then I discovered that the entire interview was posted in August of last year that was originally posted on TeleSur.

Martin introduces Joseph by citing his earlier career in advertising and equity trading, but doesn't mention anything about his subsequent founding of the Zeitgeist movement. (I hadn't yet read the introduction posted on YouTube.) I began to think that she was interviewing someone totally different, but after some research I concluded that the two different persona were one and the same.

In this extended interview you will learn many things about how capitalism functions such as Wall Street gimmicks to cheat ordinary investors,  creating demand for products through advertising, how debt is used by our masters in the capitalist ruling class to further enrich themselves at our expense, how the system is wrecking our habitat and threatening our demise, among other topics. When he gets to his vision for change in the latter part of the interview, he becomes more abstract and moralistic. 

Joseph is another perfect illustration of how a well-trained and skilled person was hired by corporations to serve in critical functions that make capitalism work. However, Joseph, unlike many others, apparently did not succumb to his conditioning in sociopathy through the inducements he received from high salaries and perks that corporations give to such talented people. In time he began to learn about the disastrous effects that the system of capitalism created for the overwhelming majority of people and our habitat on planet Earth. He apparently took his insights, dropped out of the corporate rat-race, and founded a movement to attack the capitalist system. 

In a more recent interview he appeared on the Jimmy Dore Show to explain some of his views that he wrote in his book entitled The New Human Rights Movement. In this interview he focuses on the structure of capitalism that has many secondary consequences that adversely impact the lives of ordinary people.

Court sanction of AT&T-Time Warner merger strengthens corporate grip on news and entertainment

Click here to access article by Barry Grey from World Socialist Web Site.

Read this article to learn about the increasing tendency of capitalists to concentrate ownership in ever fewer hands, a tendency that affects every profit-making enterprise. However, the effects of this merger will further undermine, along with the termination of internet neutrality, any efforts by independent journalists to bring accurate information to ordinary people. Instead, the merger will result in more propaganda that justifies ruling class policies that create precarity among ordinary people at home and never-ending wars abroad. 
Coming just one day after the termination of net neutrality, the legal requirement that Internet service providers treat all communications as equal and not discriminate against websites, the federal court ruling sets the stage for the further consolidation of monopoly control over the Internet, social media, television, films and news outlets, and the suppression of oppositional points of view.

Tuesday, June 12, 2018

Recommended articles for Tuesday, June 12, 2018

Now that the repeal is in effect, ISPs “have the green light to begin degrading our access to the internet,” said former FCC commissioner and Common Cause special adviser Michael Copps. “Monopoly phone and cable companies will undoubtedly seek to maximize profits by favoring their own content over their competitors and creating fast lanes and slow lanes ultimately at the expense of consumers.”
And later in the article:
... it has sparked an unprecedented backlash from across the political spectrum, and internet users are coming out of the woodwork to fight tooth and nail in Congress, in the courts, and at the local and state level,” she continued. “This summer we’ll channel our anger productively and harness the power of the internet to mount an unprecedented district-by-district campaign to get Congress to do their job.”
The control over the internet by a handful of social media monopolies and internet service providers, which conspire against the democratic rights of the population, makes clear that the defense of democratic rights is inseparable from the ending of private ownership of the internet infrastructure. Internet access is a basic social right, which must be freely available to all without the interference of corporations or the state.
I'm sure the author would agree that private ownership over any significant segment of our capitalist economy results in private interests taking both wealth and power away from the people. 
  • There Are No War Heroes. There Are Only War Victims by Caitlin Johnstone from her blog. I especially liked the title. She attacked another lie that our official leaders always say at gatherings related to veterans: our hero-soldiers died serving their country, the USA. 
  • What Sy Hersh Knows by Christian Lorentzen from Vulture (a website produced by the New York Magazine). Lorentzen interviews one of America's top independent journalists, Seymour Hersh, about his latest book entitled Reporter: A Memoir.

Monday, June 11, 2018

Churchill and WW Two: The Man and the Myth

Click here to access article by British historian Mike Faulkner posted on The Greanville Post. (Some editing was done as late as 6/14/2018 to strengthen my views.)

Faulkner knows history very well, but it is sad that his writings will be read by a small fraction of the people in the West. They will get their understanding of history from movies like this current one, Darkest Hour, and all the other "historical" films that capitalist movie studios produce.

Some topics that Faulkner didn't emphasize enough was the split in the ruling classes of the Western capitalist nations between support or opposition to the fascists. Mostly these ruling classes supported the fascists. This was only a little more than a decade after Russian revolutionaries established the Soviet Union. When fascist powers reared their ugly head in the Spanish Civil War in the 1930s, the other capitalist (pre-fascist) nations stayed "neutral" in contrast to the fascist nations of Germany and Italy which provided massive military support for the reactionary Spanish conservatives against the elected government of Spain.

I have read widely sources that described what went on in the 1930s and I am convinced (see this and this) that there was a conspiracy by capitalist ruling class to promote and prepare Hitler and the Nazis to move to the east to attack and destroy their arch nemesis, the Soviet Union. This was during a time when Western capitalist nations were plagued by an economic collapse and when Western workers increasingly were aware that there was full employment in the Soviet Union which was industrializing at a rapid pace.

My doubts about the standard history I received in US schools occurred when I learned that suddenly in 1929 Hitler turned against his Brown Shirts (SA) and supported the SS who wore black uniforms. I couldn't understand why he would turn against his own supporters. But I now think that ruling capitalist classes of the other countries began to see that the Nazis could be used to attack and destroy the Soviet Union. The SA consisted largely of working class people; so the capitalist agents bargained with Hitler, promised abundant financial backing by major industrialists like Fritz Thyssen, and created the SS which consisted of more upper class Nazis.  

(Incidentally, I think the Nazi's and others hatred for Jews stemmed from the fact that the leaders of Bolshevik revolution in Russia were mostly Jewish.)

Hitler's megalomania can be explained by the fact that he was conscious of his powerful backing, and only became a threat to the Western capitalist countries when he attacked Britain. Britain and the other capitalist allies were forced into collaboration with their arch enemy, the Soviet Union, to prevent Nazi Germany and the Axis Powers from taking over the domination of the world from the British Empire and its capitalist allies. That is when arch-imperialist, racist Churchill re-entered the stage of history and became the hero of capitalist history. (Earlier he backed aggressively the efforts of the British to crush the Soviets immediately after their revolution, but failed because Britain's armed forces were too exhausted to do so.) True to his obsessive anti-Soviet views, he always sought to delay FDR's efforts to launch a second front in continental Europe to take the pressure off the Russians (read Roosevelt and Hopkins by Robert E. Sherwood).

I recently read a book by Terry Parssinen entitled The Oster Conspiracy of 1938. Although he takes the same standard view that the Nazis were totally home grown, he was curious enough to uncover the much neglected, and in my opinion deliberately neglected, history of this first revolt against Hitler and the Nazis. The standard view holds that it was all the fault of Neville Chamberlain and his "appeasement" policies.  But what he uncovers could also support the argument that the Western capitalist ruling classes refused for political reasons to support a vigorous anti-Nazi movement which consisted mostly of German generals and some diplomats in Germany. I see this as further evidence that the British capitalist ruling class and others saw the German fascists as useful for their plans to destroy the Soviet Union. I think the facts that he uncovers furnish more support for this alternative explanation than the conventional version of these historical events.

American Pravda: Breaching the Media Barrier [updated]

Click here to access article by Ron Unz from his website The Unz Review. (Thanks go to an activist who alerted me to this article.) I added a link to Phil Butler's article on 6/13/2018.

Taking Unz's argument at face value, I think the article serves more to illustrate that members especially of the upper-middle class are disturbed by the gross lies that corporate media are spreading than it serves to argue for an effective strategy to counter their lies. 

The capitalist system is based on private ownership of any productive enterprises in societies. Thus the owners inevitably evolve into a class with considerable power over the rest of society and over time, because of the dynamics of capitalism, ownership becomes concentrated in fewer and fewer hands. The security of the vast majority of people are faced with increasing wars and precarity, and they naturally engage in all sorts of resistance. To counter such resistance, the owner class must counter this resistance by using their media to spread ever greater deceptions about what they are doing in the world. This is precisely what is happening today.

The class that has contributed heavily to this end-development of capitalism is the well-rewarded upper-middle class of technologists, scientists, and highly educated trained and indoctrinated professionals in every field of endeavor. (Phil Butler is an excellent example of this phenomenon.) Currently even they, in spite of receiving many rewards and perks, are having a difficult time believing the lies that are constantly spewed by their counterparts in corporate media. As a consequence many, such as Ron Unz, Patrick Buchanan, Paul Craig Roberts, Ron Paul, Andrei Raevsky (The Saker), Bernhard (blogger for Moon of Alabama) are now defecting--some such as Chris Hedges more than others. As a consequence Unz has not posted any of Hedges' writings on his website since 2016, and he was published frequently on his website previously. 

I noticed on the right side of this posting that he posted an interview with David Harvey, a noted American Marxist, conducted by Chris Hedges. Because David Harvey has not appeared on this website before, it seems to me that Harvey's post was juxtaposed with this article in order to establish his neutrality and credibility regarding capitalism. Considering the evidence of his postings as a whole, I think Unz, as a member of the upper-middle class and a conservative, is worried about the fascist direction that his masters in capitalist ruling class are going. Thus, he and his fellow-rebels are waking up and smelling the foul odors emanating from the increasing fascist actions taken by their masters in the capitalist class and they are defecting--but only so far. Not far enough to challenge the system from which they have benefited so much, but are only desperately striving to return to an earlier stage of capitalism like in the 20th century when they, as an upper-middle class, flourished. 

However, there is another argument that one could make--I won't because I prefer to believe that Unz is honest--that he and agents of the ruling class are cleverly trying to co-opt alternative media to tame it and capture its audience as much as possible so that the threats posed by this opposition media are diminished.

Sunday, June 10, 2018

The Eerie Silence Surrounding the Assange Case

Click here to access an interview with John Pilger conducted by Dennis Bernstein of Pacifica Radio posted on ConsortiumNews. (Updated with link to Assange at 2:50 PM Seattle time.)
Pilger’s (opening) Statement
There is a silence among many who call themselves left. The silence is Julian Assange. As every false accusation has fallen away, every bogus smear shown to be the work of political enemies, Julian stands vindicated as one who has exposed a system that threatens humanity. [Added link to Assange]

The 'West' Is Past

Click here to access article by Bernhard from Moon of Alabama

But what are the implications of this for the capitalist Empire? Also read the astute comments following the article.

Why Venezuela and Syria Cannot Fall

Click here to access article by Andre Vltchek from New Eastern Outlook.

Vltchek talks to a Scandinavian "progressive" crowd but for some rather obscure reason they, for the most part, cannot understand his view that people in countries like Syria, Venezuela, Cuba, and Bolivia are in a desperate battle for survival against the US-led Empire and its selfish individualism.
I am well aware of the fact that many of my readers are from the West. Somehow, particularly in Europe, I cannot explain, anymore, what it really is to be a revolutionary. Recently I spoke at a big gathering of ‘progressive’ teachers, which took place in Scandinavia. I tried to fire them up, to explain to them what monstrous crimes the West has been committing all over the world, for centuries.

I tried and I failed. When the lights went on, I was drilled by hundreds of eyes. Yes, there was an applause, and many stood up in that fake clichĂ© – a standing ovation. But I knew that our worlds were far apart.

What followed were pre-fabricated and shallow questions about human rights in China, about “Assad’s regime”, but nothing about the collective responsibility of people of the West.

To understand what goes on in Syria and in Venezuela, requires stepping out of the Western mindset. It cannot be understood by selfish minds that are only obsessed with sexuality and sexual orientation, and with self-interest.
I believe that the "rather obscure reason" is the success of Western propaganda to infect the minds of its more "educated" subjects, or the essential (for the survival of the capitalist class) upper-middle class pampered workers, with identity politics, the latest version of self-seeking that capitalism propagandists have used for centuries to fool its subjects to support the rule of this increasingly tiny, rich, and very powerful class of people.

For example, this "progressive" commentator, a Cuban-American, objected to the term "gusano" because he argued that it was an ethnic slur--and not an ideological slur which it is.

Let me be clear, I am not opposed to identity politics, but it has been used by the ruling capitalist classes to divert attention from the issues related to wars and precarity for the vast majority of people.