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

Friday, October 12, 2018

Facebook carries out massive purge of oppositional pages

Click here to access article by Andre Damon from World Socialist Web Site.
In alliance with the state, Facebook and other social media companies are deciding what organizations constitute “well-developed networks” seeking to “manipulate” public opinion. Of course, this applies not to the mass media, which are engaged in constant government propaganda, but to oppositional groups. [my emphasis]

Showtime in America: Idiots’ Delight: A Quasi Review

Click here to access article by Edward Curtin from his blog. 

Curtin can't get over his new discovery--that (nearly) everything is a lie in America. Judging by recent, and not so recent, events, I must agree with him. I keep wondering what the effects are from this "Showtime in America" on ordinary Americans.
... we are living in a time of unprecedented technological media mind manipulation difficult to penetrate. Harold Pinter called it “a tapestry of lies” in which facts don’t matter. What happened never happened; what never happened happened. It’s all about believability in the national media’s hypnotic show, whose purpose Russell Baker described 25 years ago as being to “provide a manageably small cast for a national sitcom, or soap opera, or docudrama, making it easy for media people to persuade themselves they are covering the news while mostly just entertaining us.”

The steady deteriorating relations between the USA and Saudi Arabia

by Ron Horn

I don't believe we should ignore the effects of the recent assassination of the Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi in the Saudi consulate in Turkey. It may very well contribute significantly to the steady decline of relations between the US Empire and the feudal Kingdom of Saudi Arabia to the peril of both.

The ruling capitalist class of the USA and the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia (KSA) have long colluded with each other to protect each others interests: first in 1945, when FDR wanted USA's access to the richest oil deposits in the world; and the second iteration happened around 1974 with Kissinger's secret agreement with the King to effectively use the kingdom's oil to back the threatened dollar that had recently gone off the gold standard. Tyler Durden in 2016 provided an excellent summary of this sordid, mafia-like history

I've viewed with curiosity some of the recent statements by Trump which were critical of the Kingdom. Being a crass businessman, Trump in his blunt style only voiced what other ruling class figures, steeped in the skills of diplomacy, thought and said privately but wouldn't say publicly. Still, Mohammad bin Salman, the effective ruler of KSA (until the aging king dies), likely took his blunt remarks as deep insults (as is his style), and retaliated by killing one of Saudi Arabia's journalist-critics.

Thus, you should read this, this, this, this, and this to become informed about this potential historic pivot in relations between the two countries. On the other hand, Bernhard, expert geopolitical analyst at the Moon of Alabama, thinks because the alliance is of such importance to both countries the news of the incident will quickly disappear from the media and the conflicts will be handled secretly.
Deals will be made and the case will be buried. If the deals are good enough, several dozen billions will be required, the U.S. might even allow Mohammad bin Salman to stay in his position.
But [the aging elder] King Salman, or some Saudi citizens, may well find that the various crazy endeavors MbS tends to launch - the war on Yemen, the Qatar blockade, the Khashoggi assassination - are becoming way too costly for the country. A simple unlucky home accident could solve that problem.
I'm not so sure. In any case, it is important that you know about this sordid history.

Thursday, October 11, 2018

Coming September 2019: The Anatomy of a Great Deception — Part 2!

Click here to access article and video that was sent to me by Richard Gage, AIA
Founder & CEO, Architects & Engineers for 9/11 Truth.

Here is your opportunity to help fund a second film by Dave Hooper about the greatest false-flag event in history and help to expose it as that. There are no limits--and I mean no limits--that our masters will go to to defend the benefits of their ruling class positions and their attacks against anyone or nation that stands in their way of access to their drugs of power and profits. I'm referring to the ruling, transnational, capitalist classes of the US-led Empire. 

Some of their worst deceptions in addition to their crime of 9/11 include the creation of a democratic facades of their governments whose war policies are always presented as motivated by humanitarian concerns, their successful attempts to evade taxes (and raise ours) with the establishment of offshore tax havens, and finally their use (or misuse) of our money that is issued by their privately owned central banks. The list of their deceptions and crimes against the overwhelming majority of humanity are endless--9/11 is only one of them. But if the American people can be convinced of this greatest false-flag event, there is no telling where they will go to question all the lies, deceptions, and crimes of our masters.

The Democrats and “Socialism”

Click here to access article by Carl E. Boggs from CounterPunch

This unbrainwashed, politically sane author reveals current politics as it is: a well managed politics combining the redefinition of words, promoting a typical welfare and reformist facade, and the backing of women candidates and people of color as a method to capitalize on the fashionable identity politics of today (see this, this, this, and this).  

Because I once wrote to a congressman from my district back in 2008, I've gotten on all the Democratic Party lists and have been inundated with promotional ads by them. (Hopefully now that I have unsubscribed from all their lists, I won't be bothered anymore.) Once again, those hard-working, distracted and entertained to death, and deep-in-debt Americans will be led by professional sheepherders in the ruling class's other party into their corrals of political delusions and finally, after the elections, into the capitalist slaughter house.

Wednesday, October 10, 2018

Articles recommended for Wednesday, October 10, 2018

I almost thought that Michel Chossudovsky, founder and editor of Global Research, switched his opposition to the phenomenon of global warming until today when I noticed this post. He consistently ran such posts up until about 2012. Thus, I concluded erroneously that he had changed his mind given all the scientific evidence and just plain common sense regarding global warming and climate destabilization: the trends for extreme weather, melting of the glaciers, wildfires, and other global warming events. Unfortunately not.

Tuesday, October 9, 2018

Recommended articles for Tuesday, October 9, 2018

International relations: the calm before the storm?

Click here to access article by Thierry Meyssan from his blog VoltaireNet

(The translator erred--once again--in translating the French "destitution". It has not the same meaning in English. Example from the original article in French: "Les partisans de l’ancien ordre international misent sur un changement de majorité au Congrès et une destitution rapide du président Trump." See this and this. )

The author's basic thesis that events in Syria and elsewhere are largely suspended due to the wait for the results of the US midterm elections held in early November. This had a special resonance with me because I sensed that we were in an extended period of calm in international relations. Meyssan may be right. The thought occurred to me after reading this article that the Deep State, which has been focused on getting rid of Trump since he took office, may be awaiting their plans to put more anti-Trump candidates (Democratic Party) into the US Congress in order to make the impeachment of Trump much more likely. 

In general I think that this author has a sound geopolitical grasp of events in this vital Mid-East area, and in particular I was impressed with his knowledge of US strategies that have been pursued in Syria. One new motivation of these policies, which I hadn't thought of, was the disruption of the Belt and Road Initiative of China.
The three years of war that followed [the Russian military assistance] had other objectives - on the one hand, to create a new state straddling Iraq and Syria within the framework of the Cebrowski strategy, and, on the other, to use Daesh to cut the Silk Road that Xi Jinping’s China were seeking to reactivate - thus maintaining continental domination over the "Western" part.

Monday, October 8, 2018

True Revolution

Click here to access article by Caitlin Johnstone from her blog. 

I like much of what she writes. Although a change in consciousness by most people is essential for a successful revolution, those who have changed their consciousness should be engaged in planning for a revolution.
This would require a level of wisdom and insight that the majority of human beings simply do not possess right now. Right now, most people are very easily manipulated into advancing establishment interests by plutocrat-controlled media, and until that changes there will never be an effective and beneficial revolution. For that to change, humanity is going to have to shed its ubiquitous habit of creating mental egoic patterns which make us susceptible to manipulation via fear, greed, and herd mentality.

The doesn’t mean that the existing systems of capitalism and government aren’t going to have to change; of course they’ll have to change. But they’re not going to change unless we find a way to wake up from the deeply conditioned egoic patterns which are the norm in the world we were born into. We’ll keep repeating and repeating the same old patterns in whatever way we’ve been conditioned to until we either go the way of the dinosaur or find a way to transcend our conditioning.

Who Doesn’t Love Identity Politics?

Click here to access article by master satirist CJ Hopkins from his blog Consent Factory, Inc.

After so many years of the Deep State's use of identity politics to create a distraction from their war on US workers and their adventures abroad, I still welcome this belated satire. Their current social identity of choice are women. They are trying to use women's (often justifiable) grievances to promote their interests. Perhaps this was the tactic used by the Deep State as part of their ongoing vendetta against Trump and his nominee (Kavanaugh) for the Supreme Court. The Deep State's other party, the Democratic Party, has lined up a number of women candidates for government offices in the next election (Heads we lose, and tails we lose.).
The ruling classes love identity politics because they keep the working classes focused on race, ethnicity, gender, sexual orientation, religion, and so on, and not on the fact that they (i.e., the working classes) are, essentially, glorified indentured servants, who will spend the majority of their sentient existences laboring to benefit a ruling elite that would gladly butcher their entire families and sell their livers to hepatitic Saudi princes if they could get away with it. Dividing the working classes up into sub-groups according to race, ethnicity, and so on, and then pitting these sub-groups against each other, is extremely important to the ruling classes, who are, let’s remember, a tiny minority of intelligent but physically vulnerable parasites controlling the lives of the vast majority of human beings on the planet Earth, primarily by keeping them ignorant and confused.
I have mixed feelings about this exploitation of the use of social identity politics, I still like latter because it eliminates the isolation that many of these groups felt in the past, and they can no longer be used as scapegoats or pitted against each other as they have in the past. Even attempts at targeting Muslims by the ruling class has fizzled out. 

I have other criticisms. Hopkins overdoes the satire by writing that racists and fascists love it. To be sure, the Deep State has given them permission, even encouraged them, to hold rallies and ostentatious displays of racism to better distract us. But, this too is waning. He seems to suggest that truth is entirely relative depending upon which lens we use. Yes, that is an unfortunate fact of the nature of humans, but that isn't entirely true. We can succeed in discerning truth if we are determined to eliminate most biases and develop critical thinking skills. I disagree with his statement that "... this system (i.e., capitalism, not the U.S.A), being globally hegemonic, has no external enemies ....". Capitalism is not entirely hegemonic, and to the extent that it isn't, it leaves room for other systems to be developed. The antagonists of the US-led Empire have mostly mixed economies even though many have a rather pronounced capitalist sector.

India's U-Turn Destroys Trump's Anti-Chinese 'Quad' Strategy

Click here to access article by Bernhard from Moon of Alabama.

It seems that the US-led capitalist Empire is being besieged on every front: financially with skyrocketing government debt, obvious environmental threats, its rather desperate attempts to limit criticism of it s policies through censorship, and the backfiring efforts to wage economic warfare on key nations. The latter is what this article illustrates.
The new Indian deals with Russia, the statements from the Russia-India summit and the continued oil buying from Iran are huge defeats for the Trump administration's anti-China, anti-Russia and anti-Iran policies. Its global strategy to rescue the 'unilateral moment' for the U.S. has failed over India's recalcitrance.
It's not clear to me that this economic warfare strategy is entirely Trump's strategy. Economic warfare has along with military warfare (and military threats) have always been the main strategies (in addition to outright subversion) of the US Empire as it deals with its opponents. Trumps attempts are only more transparent. It seems that both of strategies are no longer functional in the capitalist Empire's pursuit of world dominance, and perhaps Chris Hedges is right that the Empire is now collapsing.

Sunday, October 7, 2018

Articles that should not be missed on Sunday, October 7, 2018

Although China-Europe rail freight may have a negative impact on air cargo, it will not significantly change for the foreseeable time the huge amounts of containers (TEUs) shifted by containerships. Some of sea-freight and a lot of airfreight might end on rail lines, depending on the location of the production of goods. Having said that, rail does offer a faster option than sea freight, an option that simply didn’t exist before 2010. Significantly, the rail option also usefully by-passes maritime chokepoints such as the Malacca Strait, Bab el Mandeb and the Suez Canal.