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, July 7, 2018

China and the Restoration of Capitalism. The Largest Cheap Labor Factory in the World

Click here to access article by Michel Chossudovsky, editor and founder of Global Research.

As a contrary view I am offering this to left-wing readers who are attracted to the rise of China in world affairs. I would like much more documentation of his views from independent sources, but the article presents a much needed contrary view to many left-wingers in the West who view China in such glowing terms. I, myself, remain skeptical and ambivalent about the astonishing economic development of China. However, I view the rise of China and other independent nations as a positive development to counter the obsessive imperialism of the US-led Empire.

It will be most interesting to see how Trump's trade war with China unfolds. Hopefully for us ordinary people in the US, it won't be devastating for our well-being. However, if it is, it might furnish fertile soil for growing a revolution that will replace capitalism with a system that can serve and empower all of the people.

The Parallel Universe of BBC Panorama

Click here to access article by Kit from Off Guardian

This website is devoted to exposing the Guardian's website and their print reports as engaging in fake news and views . I suspect that the website was started by people who witnessed around 2012 the steady decline of the paper into pure propaganda serving the imperialist policies of the Empire much like what we have in the USA. The Guardian was formerly recognized as providing reasonably independent news and criticism of the British government's policies. Then something happened. Likely agents of the ruling classes of the Empire infiltrated, threatened, and co-opted some of the editorial staff who hadn't already left in disgust.

The same goes for all mainstream media like the BBC. Here in this piece the author targets a particular program carried on BBC television.
The BBC flag-ship documentary series “Panorama” has long been a stalwart of state-funded television propaganda. They can always be relied upon to tell us what we’re supposed to think. In August 2013, on the very day of the Commons vote on military intervention in Syria, BBC News at 10 aired some dishonest footage from “Panorama: Saving Syria’s Children”. The full docoumentary, a shambolic piece fiction designed to outrage the public into supporting war, was aired just a month later. 

Friday, July 6, 2018

Trump fires opening shot in trade war against China

Click here to access article by Nick Beams from World Socialist Web Site

This Australian socialist not only announces the launch of the US trade war against China, but explains some of the major economic impacts this will have on Western companies doing business with China, and in China. Where this war will end is generating much controversy worldwide. I guess we should be grateful that it is an economic war and not a nuclear war. However, there will likely be serious adverse consequences for ordinary people throughout the globe. Could this be a last desperate act to maintain the US Empire's hegemony over the rest of the world? Stay tuned and informed by using independent honest and reliable sources.
The Trump administration has gone ahead with its threat to impose tariffs on China under section 301 of the 1974 US Trade Act, imposing levies on $34 billion worth of Chinese goods from midnight, with a further $16 billion to be targeted in the near future.

The action is the first shot in a direct trade war against China, with President Donald Trump telling reporters yesterday that more is to come.

Pointing to the inevitability of escalation, Robert Holleyman, former deputy US trade representative in the Obama administration, said: “Once these tariffs start going into effect, it’s pretty clear the conflict is real. If we don’t find an exit ramp, this will accelerate like a snowball going down a hill.”

Thursday, July 5, 2018

Recommended articles for Thursday, 7/5/2018

The open talk of U.S. meddling in other countries around the world was so commonplace that the U.S. mass media spent no time covering the hearing, even though the speakers did encounter some pushback. Not all members of Congress are on board with the programs.
The "open talk of US meddling in other countries" and the fact that it is absent in corporate media is not because it is so commonplace. It is because media corporations are controlled by the same ruling class as are government agencies. They simply don't want the public to know about the "democracy promotion" activities of their NGOs. They have never publicized such activities.
The only comment I have to make is that this phenomenon of increasing concentration of ownership/wealth/power is inevitable for those who are ruled by a capitalist system. Thus, this is the story of not only the past 10 years, but it is the story of capitalism. And, the end result is always fascism.

Wednesday, July 4, 2018

World Bank solution for lack of jobs: Cut worker protections

Click here to access article by Pete Dolack from Systemic Disorder.

Dolack takes apart a recent report issued by the Empire's World Bank to indicate what the report really means.
Here’s a key passage in the report: “Rapid changes to the nature of work put a premium on flexibility for firms to adjust their workforce, but also for those workers who benefit from more dynamic labor markets.”

Dynamic for who? What we have here are code words meaning make it easier to fire people.
And later he writes:
... there are no thoughts on how new jobs might be created when capitalists are in a frenzy of eliminating jobs to maintain their profit rates and survive relentless market competition. More schooling, which is what “investing early in human capital” amounts to, is fine by capitalists, as long as they don’t have to bear any of the costs. It’s up to students to take on more debt to create this new “human capital.” 

Tuesday, July 3, 2018

How the Iran sanctions drama intersects with OPEC-plus

Click here to access article by Pepe Escobar from Asia Times

This Brazilian independent journalist digs up much material on the oil wars that powerful and oil-rich nations are presently engaged in. It looks complicated, but more oil is required to power mostly privately owned enterprises. Escobar comments:
Shaded by all these dramatic eruptions, we find some startling data. Iran – and Russia – may sit on an astonishing $45 trillion worth in oil and gas reserves. US fracking is largely a myth. Saudi Arabia may have at best 20 years of oil supply left. It’s all about energy – all the time.
And reaches this sad conclusion:
The OPEC-plus-Iran puzzle is far from solved. Only one thing is certain; the future spells out brutal, covert resource wars. 

Secret U.S. Wars Endanger Africa

Click here to access article by Bernhard from his blog Moon of Alabama

Unfortunately, there are few independent reporters who can enlighten us as to what the US Empire is really doing Africa. This German blogger and super-sleuth digs up much material about the US's mysterious actions in Africa. As elsewhere in world, these operations are mostly secret; and if reported on, are loaded with self-serving propaganda issued by the Empire's ruling class that wants to secure from Africa all the riches they have.  

As Trump ‘Goes Nuclear’ Against Iran and China, What’s Next?

Click here to access article by Alastair Crooke from Strategic Culture Foundation. (Updated commentary at 4:46 PM CT. I added commentary to clarify my position as to "what's next?".)
... multipolarity stands in direct opposition to western universalism, and to ‘end of history’. It is not anti-western per se, but it is directly opposed to the western utopian projects that have attempted to slice all that is human down to a ‘single size fits all’, model society. The Russian Eurasian notion is of different cultures, autonomous, and sovereign, that precisely denies universality and hegemony, in principle.
The only problem with this perspective is that it is very naive. Ever since humans settled down in agriculture communities, every society has been wracked with ruling classes whose origins were established by violence using a variety of methods ranging from outright physical (including the threat of) violence to very indirect methods of imposing oppressive conditions upon the subjugated such as economic sanctions, psychological manipulation, control of information, etc. 

Today we see Russia and China, who champion a multi-polar world, as new challengers to the dominance of the US Empire that has used all of these methods on behalf of their self-serving capitalist classes in their mad attempt to control the entire world. Crooke is an expert at parsing the relationships of these most powerful nations of the world. In this article he prepares his readers to expect very little at the upcoming talks between Presidents Trump and Putin that are scheduled to meet on 16 July, in Helsinki.

Some questions remain. If after Russia, China, and the proponents of the multi-polar world succeed in thwarting the ambitions of the US Empire, what then? Will they allow an empowered and enlightened people to emerge and take control of their own societies, or will they, too, promote new ruling classes to emerge and repeat the raging class wars of the last 10,000 years? And, if it's not too late, can they prevent the threat of devastating climate destabilization and save humans?