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 27, 2018

Other recommended articles for Saturday, October 27, 2018

OPINION: CBS’s & NPR’s Rabidly False ‘News’ About the Khashoggi Case

Click here to access article by Eric Zuesse posted on Washington's Blog. (Edited at 3:40 PM to add greater clarity.)

Zuesse is one of the best of analysts who discerns and writes about the lies perpetrated by the ruling class of capitalists--only he doesn't put it that way. He, like many others, identifies the ruling class using some other term. He prefers "aristocrats", a term borrowed from the feudalism. Many writers use other rather vacuous terms such as the "powers that be", or "the elite", "the deciders" (a favorite of Bush Jr.), etc. The Cambridge website defines the concept "powers that be" as "People in charge of or controlling other people" which is probably the most accurate and specific definition when applied to powerful people who rule over entire societies. Most contemporary writers on the subject demonstrate either an ignorance about who are the real controllers, or wish to avoid using the accurate term "capitalists" for various reasons. Some ideologues of capitalism consciously avoid using the term to distract attention away from the system whose legitimacy is increasingly being questioned.

Joseph Stiglitz whose article I recently posted entitled "The American Economy Is Rigged: And what we can do about it" is an example, I think, of the latter. He only uses "American economy" and nowhere does he identify it as a capitalist economy. Because Stiglitz is a well-paid ideologue of the ruling capitalist class, he wants to avoid using the term to, in effect, disappear the concept. He and all the other ideologues have been very successful at disappearing the term. Stiglitz in his article recognized the power of wealth but chose to ignore its implications, and assured his readers that reforms could be enacted to curb the abuses of the overwhelming power of wealth in private hands that we see today.
Political scientists have documented the ways in which money influences politics in certain political systems, converting higher economic inequality into greater political inequality. Political inequality, in its turn, gives rise to more economic inequality as the rich use their political power to shape the rules of the game in ways that favor them—for instance, by softening antitrust laws and weakening unions.
I don't know about Zuesse, but I give him the benefit of doubt by assuming that he has been trained to overlook the man-made system of capitalism and regards it as essentially a fact of nature. This is common among writers today whose understanding of the concept was handed down by Christian authorities and their Bible who argue that authorities are ordained by God. Of course this is false. Such nonsense justified the rule of feudal authorities. This is only another illustration of how ruling classes use every institution (in this case the religious establishment) to justify their rule. Ruling classes are rooted in history dating back to the first agriculture settlements when military chieftains took by force wealth created by others, and one ruling class succeeded the previous one down through history to what we see today with capitalist ruling classes and their exploitation of ordinary people.

Initially ruling capitalist classes legitimatized their rule through their ideology of liberalism. This ideology, like all ruling class ideologies, sought to justify the rule of capitalists in the early era of their rule. This ideology sanctified the "ownership" of property which was grafted onto the inheritance rules of feudalism. This was especially important when industrialization brought workers together in one place or facility to perform work. The place was "owned" by private individuals and the wealth generated by the workers was "owned" by the owners of the facility. The workers were simply rented and were known as wage workers who had no power over the work they performed or how it was performed. They were essentially wage slaves. Over time capitalists extended this concept over ideas and images--anything that could be used as a commodity to generate wealth. 

This class gradually appropriated sufficient wealth to enable them through the power of wealth to take over control from feudal rulers (monarchs and aristocrats) in various European countries starting in the 17th century in Britain. And the rest is history (of wars, social strife, poverty and riches, etc). But nowadays, they have abandoned the use of this ideology in favor of simply disappearing the concept of capitalism. It has now become a fixture of reality or a fact of nature. The term "liberalism" is now used most often to refer only to the remnants of classical capitalism that was used to rally the peasants to their struggle against the feudal authorities: the promises of fraternity, liberty, equality have largely morphed into vague notions of liberty, equality of opportunity, democracy, secularism, gender equality, racial equality, internationalism, freedom of speech, freedom of the press and freedom of religion.

I applaud Zuesse's many fine articles that reveal so many lies by our masters in the capitalist class, but I wish he wouldn't identify them as "aristocrats". He and others like him must begin to explore the capitalist system and examine how it leads to lies, wars, extreme inequality, fascism, and an ongoing assault on our ecosystem which threatens human existence.

Friday, October 26, 2018

Some predictions about the latest ruling class strategies to get rid of Trump

by Ron Horn

I occasionally watch mainstream media to find out what our capitalist masters are saying to Americans. It is no secret to anyone paying attention that our masters want to get rid of Trump. It appears to me that their preferred way is to impeach and remove him from his office, and they need a Democratic Party majority in Congress to do this. (They wouldn't hesitate to assassinate him, like Jack Kennedy and his brother Robert if he was not presently useful for their purposes.) Hence, they are pursuing various strategies to elect Democratic (especially women because they are currently fashionable) candidates in the midterm elections scheduled for next month. Although I, or anyone, cannot know for certain, some of the latest strategies seem so obvious to me that I simply can't resist to point them out as methods to attain the removal of Trump by the ruling class . 

In addition to the gross bias of mainstream media against Trump, I am referring to the current semi-crash in the stock market and the latest mail-bombs that Democratic leaders have received in the past few days. For me, these seem such obvious attempts to have Democratic candidates elected in the November elections. Thus, I predict two things will happen: the stock market, although the economy rests on very tenuous or unstable foundations, it will pick up after the elections because our masters have a great deal of control over it; secondly, the FBI will never solve who was sending these mail-bombs simply because agents employed by our masters did it. (Need I predict that our masters will succeed in their attempt to elect a majority of Democrats?) So stay tuned and aware to find out if these are just wacky notions of some disgruntled, leftist blogger. I will again revisit these predictions on November 15th to evaluate my predictions. (And, as ever, I welcome comments.)

Who profits from the end of the mid-range nuclear treaty?

Click here to access article by Pepe Escobar from Asia Times

Escobar explains why the ending the Intermediate-range Nuclear-Forces Treaty is very disturbing to the US Empire's European components which could further alienate their role as allies. Once again we see Trump's administration bumbling and dangerous qualities as he tries to "Make America Great Again". But then, look at the choices Americans had in the last "democratic" election: the vigorous and sophisticated aggressive foreign policies of a Hillary Clinton administration or the bumbling administration of a real estate tycoon. 

Also, you might be interested in an article related to this topic entitled "US Dream of Eurasian Domination Through New ‘Containment Strategy’" by Salman Rafi Sheikh from New Eastern Outlook.

Blockading Venezuela: The Linchpin of the US Strategy of Aggression

Click here to access article by Anthony Brenner from Venezuelanalysis.

This article gives you some examples of how US economic warfare can wreck havoc on struggling societies and their most vulnerable citizens. This weapon has been used by the US throughout most of the post-WWII years in place of outright invasion of countries especially in Latin America that was favored in the years before WWII. Now that the US Empire is facing serious opposition to the Empire's imperialist policies from countries like Russia, China, Iran, and to a lesser extent with many other countries, we see this weapon used by the masters of the Empire against many countries. The weaker ones like Venezuela, especially its poorer citizens, suffer the most.
Revealing examples are emerging of the cumulative impact that US sanctions against Venezuela are having on the Venezuelan people in the field of health, one of the key priorities of the Bolivarian revolution.

Thursday, October 25, 2018

Why are thousands of Hondurans walking towards the US border?

Click here to access article by Zoe PC from Peoples Dispatch

The author provides some reasons why. If you are not aware of the many ways that the USA uses Central America as playgrounds for corporations to plunder, you are not at fault. Corporate media rarely gives you accurate news about the world we live in, and especially about foreign countries. 
Nearly 7,000 people are part of the caravan that began early last week. The reasons for their flight are diverse but most of them have to do with the absence of dignified living conditions in Honduras. People are unable to access education, health care and employment, and violence is ubiquitous. The situation has drastically worsened in the last decade with the coup d’etat, imposition of the dictatorship and the illegal reelection of Juan Orlando Hernández (JOH). Many have said that the thousands of Hondurans headed towards the United States border are not in search of the ‘American dream’ but are rather fleeing the Honduran nightmare.
The only criticism I have is that the article over emphasizes the policies of Donald Trump. He is only the latest incarnation of an Empire official leader whose assignment by the US ruling capitalist class is to lie about US imperial activities in Central America. However, with Trump it is hard to tell whether his statements and policies are based on ignorance or knowing lies.

I, For One, Welcome Our New Robot Overlords…

In the following video James Corbett introduces us (with tongue in cheek) to the cutsy (def.) robots that our masters are presenting to us as being very helpful to us in our lives. Obviously, Corbett doesn't trust our masters and their seductive robots. See what you think. (You can access the video directly from Corbett's website here.) In the introduction to this video he becomes more serious and warns us about these new robots and their likely uses.
…and so should you! Just kidding. Today we explore the cute and cuddly side of the propaganda push to normalize robots in our everyday life…and the darker side of this phenomenon that they’re trying to distract us from.

Wednesday, October 24, 2018

Sciences of inequality

Click here to access article by David Ruccio from Real-World Economics Review Blog

Ruccio, a left economist, first introduces data showing gross inequality in the USA, and then provides his answer to Joseph Stiglitz's article that was carried in Scientific American and was posted yesterday in this blog with my commentary.
... what are the economics behind the kind of degrading and destructive inequality we’ve been witnessing in the United States in recent decades? For that, Scientific American turned to Nobel laureate Joseph Stiglitz for an explanation. Readers of this blog will be on familiar ground. As I’ve explained before (e.g., here), Stiglitz criticizes the “fictional narrative” of neoclassical economics, according to which everyone gets what they deserve through markets (which “may at one time have assuaged the guilt of those at the top and persuaded everyone else to accept this sorry state of affairs”), and offers an alternative explanation ....

Tuesday, October 23, 2018

The American Economy Is Rigged: And what we can do about it

Click here to access article by Joseph E. Stiglitz from Scientific American

This article is an attempt to deal ideologically with the increasing inequality that has become so apparent in the USA. Because it is in a publication that scientists read, it represents an attempt to keep upper-middle class scientists, who are indispensable for the operation of the capitalist system, loyal to the US capitalist ruling class and supporting its policies. He assures the scientists that nothing is basically wrong with the "American system" (he never mentions capitalism) that can't be fixed by increasing regulations on corporations and other measures. Along the way he manages to dispose rather casually the study by Thomas Piketty, a prominent French sociologist, who discovered (which most conscious people were already aware of) ...
... that the rate of capital return in developed countries is persistently greater than the rate of economic growth, and that this will cause wealth inequality to increase in the future.
This was embarrassing to all capitalist ideologues, and attempts have been made to cover this dirty secret from spreading throughout the advanced capitalist countries. What particularly amazed me is that Stiglitz acknowledges the correlation of economic power with that of political power.
Political scientists have documented the ways in which money influences politics in certain political systems, converting higher economic inequality into greater political inequality. Political inequality, in its turn, gives rise to more economic inequality as the rich use their political power to shape the rules of the game in ways that favor them—for instance, by softening antitrust laws and weakening unions.
Somehow he manages to convince himself while trying to convince others that this can be solved within the capitalist system (which he never mentions). He assures us and the scientists that we can somehow fix this through a "democratic political awakening" and progressive legislation. He acknowledges that "chief executives [he never mentions financiers who stash their hoarded wealth in off-shore, secret bank accounts] in the U.S. ... compensate themselves 361 times more than the average worker", but somehow workers can overcome this power discrepancy. He provides a list of unrealistic progressive legislation that we can support to overcome this slide to gross inequality. It all seems like he is whistling in the dark to ward off the doubts and fears about where this country and people are headed.

Monday, October 22, 2018

American War Declaration

Click here to access article by Patrick Armstrong from Strategic Culture Foundation.
Wess Mitchell, Assistant Secretary of State for European and Eurasian Affairs in the US State Department, gave a remarkable presentation to the US Senate Foreign Relations Committee on 21 August 2018. Titled "US Strategy Towards the Russian Federation" it ostensibly lays out the US reaction to Russia's continuing aggression, hostility, interference and so forth.
Armstrong reports on the real aggressive statement of Mitchell that was omitted in corporate media to present a radically different impression. This is typical of news coverage by corporate media who are owned and controlled by the ruling class. To thoroughly understand the present aggressive policies of the US Deep State, one must understand the long history of imperial ambitions of the ruling US capitalist class.

After the Nazi's conquered much of Europe, the fascistic sector of American capitalists saw the opportunity in the future for a US Empire. The well connected Henry Luce coded this in a masterpiece of propaganda as the "American Century" which was published in Life Magazine in February 1941. This was when the American fascists had long hid their obscene ambitions under the skirt of "isolationism" in the run-up of WWII. They admired and supported the Third Reich which had already run over much of Europe and were about to launch their invasion of the Soviet Union. They soon saw a grand opportunity to establish their own US Empire (which would absorb the remnants of the British Empire) among the ruins of a clash between Germany and the Soviet Union--and of course there are always profits to be made from war production.

The American fascist-capitalists in the deep state at the time and their British counterparts, led by Winston Churchill, kept Allied forces from launching any invasion of Europe until the Soviet army had broken the back of the Nazi forces at Stalingrad in early 1943 and were subsequently forced to rapidly retreat. Thus, their geopolitical vision was largely correct except for the enormous power accrued to the Soviet Union at the end of WWII (August 1945). Hence, the need for a Cold War which was promptly launched in a speech by Winston Churchill (who had a long obsessive hatred for the Soviets) in March of 1946 in Fulton, Missouri. (In fact, Churchill promoted a plan for an invasion of the Soviet Union that was never carried out.)

The author of this article largely understated the important role of a Rockfeller-promoted Zbigniew Brzezinski, a descendant of an old aristocratic family in Poland, who argued the concept of the necessity to dominate Eurasia in order to rule the world. This thinking is likely the reason why the US has stayed so long as a military force waging war in Afghanistan.