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, October 6, 2018

Articles recommended for Saturday, October 6, 2018

Even In “Revolutionary Countries”, Mass Media Is Still In the Hands of The Right

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

Vltchek, a world traveling journalist, explains why people in the "developing" countries, especially dramatically like Vietnam, are so easily co-opted by the US Empire. It's the worldwide nature of Western media corporations providing them exclusively with news and information that serves the capitalist ruling classes of the Empire. However, he sees progress in the advanced capitalist countries with the growth of alternative media. I disagree with this last view. 

There has been some progress made by alternative media up until the Spring of 2017 in the countries of the Empire. Since then we have witnessed a considerable push-back by our capitalist masters with very successful results. Many alternative websites (including this one) have seen a decline in numbers of viewers. Our masters in the ruling classes have been successfully using Facebook, Twitter, Google, and all the other social media outlets and search engines to quiet and censor dissenting voices (see this, this, this, this, this, and this).

Friday, October 5, 2018

Ron Ridenour’s ‘Pentagon on Alert: The Russian Peace Threat’

Click here to access a book review by Dave Lindorff from This Can't Be Happening!.

After the German Third Reich was defeated in WWII, the Anglo-American alliance of necessity with the Soviet Union was quickly dropped, and the old enmity toward any system that refused to allow capitalist exploitation fueled a revived vendetta against the Soviet Union. As the end of WWII neared, the leaders of the exhausted British Empire saw that their only hope was to integrate with the powerful USA. In this book Ridenour, the author of a new book, discloses some little known facts about this vendetta that was instigated by Winston Churchill, a dedicated arch-enemy of any nation that hoped to choose an independent path from the new capitalist US Empire.
As someone [Lindorff] who studied modern Russian history, I found myself nonetheless being continually surprised as I read The Russian Peace Threat, by shocking new facts about this enduring US hostility that I had clearly not been fully aware of. For example, at the end of Chapter 10, writing about the launching of the Cold War by then Prime Minister Winston Churchill and Harry Truman as World War II was ending, Ridenour describes how Churchill proposed a plan to the US called “Operation Unthinkable.” This criminal nightmare vision had the combined forces of the US, Britain and Canada, along with some 100,000 rearmed Nazi troops, attacking the presumably exhausted and over-extended Soviet Red Army then still battling remnants of the Wehrmacht in eastern Germany. 

Wednesday, October 3, 2018

Two experts ridicule the Empire's policies and actions in the Middle East and Afghanistan

By Ron Horn

I regard two similar articles by experts on the US Empire's wars in the Middle East and Afghanistan as important. I am referring "Iran and Hezbollah are ready to face any challenge: but are Israel and the US ready?" by Elijah J. Magnier, an independent Kuwaiti journalist (if my memory serves me correctly) and widely quoted source of information by other experts, and "Blowback From U.S. Policy in the Greater Middle East" (you may want to skip Tom Engelhardt's introduction by scrolling down to the article) by Major Danny Sjursen of West Point.

Both ridicule the declining influence of the US Empire and its "partners in crime" due to blowback of its imperialist policies and actions to control this region over the past nearly four decades. 

Elijah Magnier:
With every war or tough western policy to defeat this “axis” using Saudi Arabian money and western intelligence services in the Levant and Iraq, this “axis” becomes stronger and increases the number of its supporters. Can the western warmongers finally learn that such a policy is, in fact, drastically weakening the West in the Middle East? I doubt it. 
Major Danny Sjursen: 
Short-term thinking, expedience, and a lack of strategic caution (or direction) has led Washington to train, fund, and support group after group that, soon enough, turned its guns on American soldiers and civilians. It’s a long, sordid tale that stretches back decades -- and one that, unlike the individual instances of treachery that kill or maim American servicemen, receives next to no attention.

Tuesday, October 2, 2018

How Feedback Loops Are Driving Runaway Climate Change

Click here to access article by Dahr Jamail from TruthOut

Dahr Jamail explains "how the feedback loops are driving runaway climate change".
The simplest explanation for a positive climate feedback loop is this: The more something happens, the more it happens. One of the most well-known examples is the melting of sea ice in the Arctic during the summer, which is accelerating. As greater amounts of Arctic summer sea ice melt away, less sunlight is reflected back into space. Hence, more light is absorbed into the ocean, which warms it and causes more ice to melt, and on and on.
And the scientists' explanations? Read the article.

Monday, October 1, 2018

Lost in the Theatre of Data, Dada, and Emotional Manipulation

Click here to access article by Edward Curtin from his blog Behind the Curtain.
... I realized that this is how the finest propaganda works.  It splits people in two and works subtly.  Emotionally you are pulled one way, and intellectually another, if you are thinking at all. There are certain connections you are not supposed to make or verbalize, when to oppose the powerful sway of the media’s emotional appeals is considered a betrayal of your humanity and certain victims, such as a cute orphan or acceptable victims, even when that doesn’t follow logically.

But in the Magic Theatre that is American life, false choices are the essence of the show. Democrats vs. Republicans, Clinton vs. Bush, Bush vs. Obama, Obama vs. Trump, liberals vs. conservatives, and on and on endlessly.  It’s Dada, my friends, all theater.  The next election will change everything, right?  “The sun’ll come out/Tomorrow, So ya gotta hang on/‘Till tomorrow/ Come what may.”

Trump administration sees a 7-degree rise in global temperatures by 2100

Click here to access article by Juliet Eilperin, Brady Dennis, and Chris Mooney from The Washington Post

I can't help but view this post cynically as anti-Trump propaganda motivated solely by ruling class hostility to President Trump. How can one take this article seriously from a media corporation that has functioned as the main propaganda organ of the ruling capitalist class, and its past record of always supporting the government's inconsequential efforts to limit global warming. 

There has been a rather widespread belief among scientists and other informed people that it is now too late to reverse, and thereby prevent, catastrophic effects from the accumulated amount of carbon already spewed into our atmosphere. This article emphasizes the rather benign warnings of federal scientists. Due to obvious reasons to safeguard their own careers in government, these scientists have the most conservative views (see this and this) among scientists in general regarding the threats to humans posed by global warming . 

Sunday, September 30, 2018

The Game

Click here to access a poem by Ghada Chehade from her website. 

For me this poem by a Palestinian Canadian expresses what many experience currently living in capitalist societies. We are trained to relate to things instead of each other. Our masters in the capitalist ruling classes are obsessed with things of wealth and power, and try to inculcate this same obsession in us to better exploit us.  

Consequently we devalue each other in preference to things; and being socialized in this culture, we often model their behavior by treating each other as things that we can use to accumulate more wealth and control of others. It's all a game in the sense that we feel our lives are being played out by some alien rules instead of living lives centered in our human experience and being creators of our own lives. Those who succumb completely to this experience lose their humanity and end up as sociopaths who inflict unfathomable harm on others. 

“Is This What We Destroy Lives For?” Iraq, Afghanistan Vets’ Guilt, Unanswered Questions Spike Suicide Rate

Click here to access article by Whitney Webb from Mint Press News

Baffled by the increase in the rate of suicides by young veterans, the experts seem to overlook the explanations of these veterans in their suicide notes.
For instance, the suicide note of Daniel Somers, an Iraq war veteran who took his own life at age 30, stated that his PTSD was largely the result of having been ordered to “participate in things” including “war crimes, crimes against humanity.” Somers noted that “though I did not participate willingly, and made what I thought was my best effort to stop these events, there are some things that a person simply cannot come back from.”
Indeed, some of the atrocities that have been conducted by U.S. troops in Iraq include orders to slaughter all “military age men” in a given area, torturing detainees, raping children, massacring groups of civilians, and sodomizing prisoners with broom sticks.