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
Saturday, August 11, 2018
This is a major geopolitical alert! With Erdogan of Turkey laying down the gauntlet (def), it looks obvious to me that the current economic warfare of the Trump administration waged against Turkey portends a major shift from Turkey's lukewarm alliance with the US Empire to the emerging powers of Russia, China, etc.
The author argues that the effects of climate destabilization confronts us humans with only two stark choices: staying with the existing system of capitalism or replacing it with a sustainable system.
The author writes about his personal extensive efforts, and that of his friends, extending over many years to warn about the future destabilization of the biosphere followed by the likely extinction of humans and other "higher" life forms.
I personally, in a number of public meetings, was called a “kook catastrophist,” a “Neo-Malthusian,” an “apolitical tree hugger,” and many other negative epithets – I haven’t heard any of that in-your-face name calling in the last six or seven years.
So what has changed? Reality. If you have been paying attention and are not mired in rigid ideology, then continued denial is no longer an option.
Friday, August 10, 2018
- Washington Has Lured EU into Anti-China Trade Front by F. William Engdahl from New Eastern Outlook.
- Why Trump Cancelled the Iran Deal by Eric Zuesse from Strategic Culture Foundation.
- Who Has Profited From Your Beliefs? by Caitlin Johnstone from her website.
The fact of the matter is that the ideas which have taken the most widespread hold in social consciousness are those which were advanced by people with influence over society, and the people with the most influence over society are, and always have been, those in power. It is self-evident that those in power are always going to encourage belief systems within the populace which benefit those in power, so, logically, most of the popular beliefs, values and ideas in our society exist predominantly because at some point, someone powerful wanted them to.
So now we’ve got a world in which powerful people inject beliefs into social consciousness that benefit the powerful, as well as vestigial, culturally ubiquitous ideas from ages past about how important it is to be placid and obedient.
Wednesday, August 8, 2018
- Washington allies with ISIS as great power conflict trumps “war on terror” by Bill Van Auken from World Socialist Web Site.
- Eternity, nature, society and the absurd fantasies of the rich by Kurt Cobb from Resource Insights.
- Trump’s Talk of Isolating Iran Speaks More to US Global Isolation by independent Irish journalist Finian Cunningham from Strategic Culture Foundation.
I thoroughly agree with his argument that Trump's sanctions against Iran is very likely to backfire to the detriment of the US economy and ultimately the hegemony of the US Empire over the entire world. However, I would not lay the responsibility for this foreign policy entirely on Trump. I think that the entire American (and much of the British) ruling class supports such a move, and this support would exist whoever was president. However, there is a split among European corporations over this policy, and the policy is likely to sow dissension among Europeans and ultimately impact NATO.
Together with the trade war against China, such policies illustrate the desperation that the American capitalist ruling class are now experiencing. Hopefully they will not do something foolish that will have much worse consequences. Meanwhile, the vast majority of Americans remain unaware as to the ultimate effects of these policies on their already deteriorating standard of living, and it will be a rude awakening for them.
Tuesday, August 7, 2018
This is an excellent article regarding the use of identity politics by various factions of the capitalist ruling class that ultimately serves the latter's interest to divide and control the majority. Some people within, and especially outside these factions, are not conscious of the role they play in supporting the ruling class because they have been thoroughly indoctrinated to identify with their masters and their interests of profit and power. Such people can be regarded as "useful idiots".
- Fear and Loathing In And Of The USA by Christopher Black from New Eastern Outlook.
- Codename Acor Sycamore - The Saudi-U.S.-Al-Qaeda Plan To Reconquer Canada by Bernhard from Moon of Alabama. Also you might be interested in a related article entitled Canada Refuses to Back Down After Saudi Arabia Freezes New Trade
- In A Corporatist System Of Government, Corporate Censorship Is State Censorship by Caitlin Johnstone from her website. It looks like the ruling class censors are going after "low-hanging fruit" in their initial phase. This reminds me of Niemöller's famous quote: "First they came for...."
Monday, August 6, 2018
- Taibbi: Beware the Slippery Slope of Facebook Censorship from Rolling Stone. The following statement shocked me:
As noted in Rolling Stone earlier this year, 70 percent of Americans get their news from just two sources, Facebook and Google. As that number rises, the power of just a few people to decide what information does and does not reach the public will amplify significantly.
- Eternity, nature, society and the absurd fantasies of the rich by Kurt Cobb from his blog.
- Confronting Authoritarianism vs. Disciplining Democracy: The Recent Protests in Jordan and US Attempts at Democracy Promotion by Benjamin Schuetze from Jadaliyya. Jordan has been obviously very important strategically for the Empire and its military incursions in Syria. The author starts off with this introduction:
Jordan currently ranks among the highest recipients of US foreign aid worldwide, both in absolute terms and particularly so on a per capita basis. Besides military and economic support, Jordan has over the past years also been the target of a whole plethora of US democracy-promotion interventions. As a result, there are probably only a few Jordanian state institutions that have not in one way or another been the target of external attempts at some form of capacity building and institutional engineering.
Later he writes:
Comparing US attempts at alleged democracy promotion with the recent protests highlights important differences in both approaches and the key actors. In fact, such comparison reveals the extent to which many US-funded programs in the country are about the disciplining of democratic demands and shaping them such that they become compatible with existing authoritarian power structures.
This British born and educated American has had a career in banking, and knows about the key role that bankers have played in the capitalist era. In this article he reflects on the frequent use of the term "liberal democracy" and what Ishay Landa's important book entitled The Sorcerer's Apprentice has to say about it. Landa shows how the capitalist class with its ideology of liberalism has attempted throughout its era of hegemony to pursue two basic conflicting strategies--economic and political liberalism. O'Reilly quotes Landa:
Political liberalism splits apart from economic liberalism and effectively undermines it, since the logical economic upshot of democracy is not capitalism but its antithesis, communism.Ideology, as has been used by ruling classes throughout the history of humans (roughly the last 10,000 years--roughly 2% of human existence), is nothing more than an attempt to legitimate class rule by a tiny minority over the vast majority. Since fascists and their ideologues started appearing in the 20th century with their attacks on liberals and liberalism, Landa reveals that the ruling capitalist classes have had a love/hate relationship with them, but mostly that of accommodation. (Initially Anglo-American capitalists loved fascists; but when Germany and Japan attacked first Britain and then the USA in their efforts to build their own empires, they represented a major threat to the British Empire and their friends. This forced the Anglo-American ruling capitalist classes into a collaboration with their arch-enemy the Soviet Union.)
Landa in his book exposes fascists for what they are: they intended to deal with this contradiction in liberalism by destroying political liberalism. But when they began constructing self-justifying ideologies, they had considerable difficulty. He examines the writings of various fascist ideologues and finds gross deceptions and contradictions as they go to great lengths trying to pretend that their ideology serves the people as a whole, rather than strictly the capitalist class.
On the other hand, Landa likewise exposes the deceptions of liberalism (to fool the vast majority of people) and shows how their ideology evolved over time from the early stages when they were still battling the rule of feudal authorities until the 20th century when they were confronted by the increasing strength of democratic forces that political liberalism had spawned: the rise of unions and the spread of suffrage to greater parts of Western societies.
Although the author, O'Reilly, of this article uses Landa's research to bolster his thesis that the term "liberal democracy" is a contradiction, unfortunately at end of this article he prefers the term "oligarchy", the term that simply means rule by the powerful few rather than the much more accurate term "capitalism": rule by a specific oligarchy--by capitalists. This current term (oligarchy) has become fashionable with many political writers and analysts because it obscures the fact that in our age the term capitalist ruling class means a powerful few who are the dominant owners of financial, industrial, and commercial property. I can only imagine that this error of O'Reilly is psychologically necessary to defend his life-long career in banking.
Since WWII and the ascendance of the US-led transnational capitalist Empire there has been a dearth of ideological writings while, at the same time, there has been an abundance of pro-capitalist propaganda. This was, I believe, intentional because of the confusion about liberalism. It appears that our masters wanted to end the efforts to construct a self-justifying ideology. In 1992 this was accomplished formally by a member of the ruling class in a book entitled The End of History and the Last Man by a prominent neoconservative, Francis Fukuyama, who argued that the worldwide spread of liberal democracies and free market capitalism of the West was the end point of humanity's sociocultural evolution. Nowadays, writing about ideology in conventional media, and much of the left media, has become passé if not taboo, rather like farting in public.
I don't know where Landa is going with this analysis because I am only half way through the book. However, it appears to lend solid support for my view that fascism is always the final stage of capitalism because sooner or later the capitalist class must turn to the means of violence, or the threat of violence, to maintain their rule.
Sunday, August 5, 2018
With a devotion to private property and inheritance, the cornerstones of capitalism, capitalists see the world through a lens of domination and control that has been so well expressed and promoted by the late Zbigniew Brzezinski: as quoted in the article: “it is imperative that no Eurasian challenger emerges, capable of dominating Eurasia and thus of also challenging America.”
Of course, what he meant, and many others who represent the ruling class mean by such language, is that American capitalists must formulate policies of the state, which they control, to prevent China and any other competitor from threatening and displacing American capitalists (now the US Empire's transnational capitalists). Economics is always a zero-sum game for capitalist enterprisers.
I can't fault China's ruling class, the Chinese Communist Party, for the "win-win" strategy first formulated by Deng Xiaoping back in the middle '70s: selling Chinese cheap labor to the Empire's corporations in return for opportunities to rapidly learn western industrial technology. They were completely aware of the addiction that Empire capitalists have for profitable opportunities.
What I am concerned about is that China's ruling class will be satisfied with merely outplaying the game of capitalism against their Western opponents and creating hundreds more Chinese billionaires. What I'd like to see is more indications that the Chinese Communist Party intends to create a system that replaces the capitalist cornerstones of private property and inheritance with a system that creates an egalitarian society which promotes the welfare of all of the people because all of the people will be empowered to insure this outcome.