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, November 17, 2018

Trump’s Defense Spending Is Out of Control, and Poised to Get Worse

Click here to access article by Matt Taibbi from Rolling Stone.

Isn't it laughable how the two political parties which we are allowed to vote for in our great American democracy are in total agreement about the use of violence abroad and cutting "entitlements" like Social Security domestically?
A bipartisan commission has determined that President Trump’s recent record defense bill is insufficiently massive to keep America safe, and we should spend more, while cutting “entitlements.”

The Filter Bubble

Click here to access article by editor David Edwards from Media Lens, a British website. 

Although the second half of the article is mostly about British media people and corporations, I am directing my North American audience to the first half regarding how the "filter bubble" works to keep us ignorant while our capitalist ruling classes commit war and other crimes.
This nightmare version of 'news' is maintained by a corporate 'filter bubble' that blocks facts, ideas and sources that challenge state-corporate control of politics, economics and culture. It is maintained by a mixture of ruthless high-level control and middle- and lower-level compromise, conformity and self-serving blindness.

It stands to reason that anyone seeking employment within this bubble will have to accept an unwritten agreement not to challenge the integrity of the bubble by which they are granted wealth and fame. Any ingrate deciding to renege is attacked, reviled and cast out; treated almost as sub-human, not entirely real. Politicians like George Galloway challenging the bubble can be beaten up in broad daylight and it is of no concern. Idealistic hippies like Russell Brand preaching love can be torn to shreds and silenced by the press pack – it doesn't matter. Whistleblowing activists like Julian Assange can be trapped, threatened with life imprisonment and death, and it is a laughing matter. Whole countries can be destroyed – it doesn't matter. The climate can be destroyed – it doesn't matter. The filter bubble has its own dream logic, follows its own cosmic laws as if the real world was none of its concern.

Trump Quietly Orders Elimination of Assange

Click here to access article by Eric Zuesse from Information Clearing House. (Thanks go to activist for alerting me to this post.)
Basically, Trump has arranged for Assange to be eliminated either by illness that’s imposed by his Ecuadorean agent, or else by Assange’s own suicide resulting from that “torture,” or else by America’s own criminal-justice system. If this elimination happens inside the Ecuadorean Embassy in London, then that would be optimal for America’s President and Congress; but, if it instead happens on U.S. soil, then that would be optimal for Ecuador’s President. Apparently, America’s President thinks that his subjects, the American people, will become sufficiently hostile toward Assange so that even if Assange disappears or is executed inside the United States, this President will be able to retain his supporters. Trump, of course, needs his supporters, but this is a gamble that he has now clearly taken. This much is clear, even though the rest of the secret agreement that was reached between Pence and Ecuador’s President is not.

Friday, November 16, 2018

Ecuador Expected to Extradite Assange to US, Lawyer Says

Click here to access article from TeleSur. (I thank an activist for alerting me to this report.)
“I believe that [Washington, London and Quito] have reached some agreement and that is exactly why the special protocol [on home rules] was introduced... to accelerate the process of ending his asylum and hand him over to the United Kingdom authorities," Poveda said Thursday.

Lucy is once again fooling Charlie Brown

I don't know if this archetypal cartoon was actually drawn by Charles Schulz, but I think the words were likely replaced. The cartoon and script suggests that the American public has been constantly fooled by our masters in the capitalist ruling class. (Thanks go to economist David Ruccio and one of his websites Occasional Links & Commentary.)

China’s Orwellian Social Credit Score Isn’t Real

Click here to access article by Jamie Horsley from Foreign Policy.

Recently there has been criticism of China's "social credit score" from a variety of US sources that have appeared online from people such as Vice President Mike Pence and media corporations like the NY PostHorsley, who has a career in Chinese studies and lived in China for almost a decade, challenges those interpretations, and offers many corrections to such views.

Unfortunately, most of her links are necessarily to Chinese documents in Chinese characters. She argues that there is not a general score used by the Chinese government on individuals, but there are many private companies and individual towns and cities that use such scores. One excellent link (in English) that she provides illustrates how Chinese private companies use scores, and is from Wired. She reminds us that in the USA, banks and credit agencies make use credit scores on individuals; and other companies track what you purchase.
It’s not surprising that myths about the system are spreading, given the shrinking space in China for civil society, rights lawyering, speech, investigative journalism, and religious belief; its increasingly ubiquitous, invasive surveillance capability; and the Chinese Communist Party’s push to apply big data and artificial intelligence in governance. China’s party-state is collecting a vast amount of information on its citizens, and its social credit system and other developments internally and overseas raise many serious concerns. But contrary to the mainstream media narrative on this, Chinese authorities are not assigning a single score that will determine every aspect of every citizen’s life—at least not yet.

Thursday, November 15, 2018

A review of the predictions I made on Oct. 26, 2018

by Ron Horn

On Oct. 26 I wrote the following in a post:
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?)

Although the stock market continued to decline after Oct. 26, it began to climb at the end of the day on Oct. 30 to around 26,200 on Nov. 8 (two days after the election), after which it has declined. This is, except for the first few day, the opposite of what I predicted. 

Regarding the second prediction, a guy (Cesar Sayoc, 56) was caught almost immediately (Oct. 26), but as yet he has only been formally accused guilty by a grand jury (which is easy to do), but has not been judged guilty because a trial has not yet taken place. It should be noted that nobody was killed or injured by the mailed pipe-bombs. I have not seen an reports that the any of them have been exploded, although the police claimed that they were authentic. 

Finally, the results of the election indicated that Trump lost a few seats in the US Senate but Democrats gained a majority in the House of Representatives. Thus, Trump lost ground in both houses of Congress.

Overall, my predictions are not validated by the results to date, although we must await a trial to see if Sayoc is convicted. The influence on the stock market as I predicted is not supported by the evidence. This experience illustrated how much I allowed cynicism to influence what I predicted, and it should teach me not to make predictions.

If Voting Changed Anything… – #PropagandaWatch

Click here if you wish to access the video and article by James Corbett directly from his website.

There is two parts to his show today: in the first rather brief part he has traced the oft used phrase "If voting changed anything it would be illegal" to a letter to the editor in 1976 printed in the Lowell (Massachusetts) Sun.

In the more substantial second part Corbett continues his presentation of the history of WWI by concentrating on the men who really controlled things behind the curtains of official government. Because I learned the real story of WWI a long time ago, I didn't re-post his previous material. However, in this second part of the post he traces the origins of today's Deep State and its directorate to events that began in the late 19th century. (I also recommend a book entitled The Anglo-American Establishment by Carroll Quigley.) 

Although the capitalist ruling class always controlled the USA mainly by controlling who would participate in elections, this development tightened their control immensely and thus they permitted women and minorities to vote in their phony elections.

Since then the general public has been bombarded by indoctrination by this Deep State to insure that ordinary people believe that the official government is the real government and the people decide via democratic elections who controls the government. This is the major myth that we are daily subject to and insures that capitalist ruling classes become ever richer and more powerful and more destructive. When people start disbelieving this myth is when we will see the arrival of overt fascism: the use of force against their own population to maintain capitalist rule. After the Deep State hoodwinked the people with the false-flag attack of 9/11, they insured that the laws permitting a fascist government were in place.

After Lebanon 2006, Syria 2011 and Iraq 2014, the “Arab NATO” and a Sunni-Shia war to revive

Click here to access article by Elijah J. Magnier, an independent Kuwaiti journalist, from his blog.

According to this perceptive author, with failure after failure to topple one Mid-East nation after another, the US Empire will in desperation use various divide-and-conquer strategies to maintain control over the oil and gas rich area. 
The failure of this strategy has pushed the US establishment towards two new options: the first, of using media to reveal Saudi Arabia’s intention to harm the Iranian economy and assassinate its military commanders. The second is to promote and advertise for an “Arab (Sunni) NATO Army”. The goal is to keep the possibility of sectarian war alive.

Wednesday, November 14, 2018

United States Will Bring Assange to US in Chains

Click here to access article by Ann Garrison from Consortium News.
It appears increasingly likely Wikileaks founder and publisher Julian Assange will wind up in the clutches of the U.S. government.

It’s hardly surprising, given that in ten years’ time, Wikileaks published more classified information than all other media combined. It exposed human rights abuses, government spying, torture, and war crimes on an unprecedented scale.
If we can't protect our hero Julian Assange, who tirelessly worked to keep real information flowing to us, from the war and environmental criminals, I fear all is lost.

What is the Point of Freedom of Speech When There is No Freedom of Thought?

Click here to access article by Sofo Archon from The Greanville Post

He writes with insight about the illusion of freedom of speech:
How much of a freethinker do you think you actually are? The majority of people aren’t much: Their ideas and opinions on the most important issues in life don’t sprout from their own personal experience and understanding, but are just a result of the conditioning they had to undergo during their upbringing. In other words, they have been brainwashed to accept and follow dogmas that were forced upon them by tradition through — just to name a few examples — school, religion, and the mainstream media.

Give this a thought: If your thinking is actually controlled and bounded within a tiny mental box, how much freedom of speech and expression do you actually possess?
We are social creatures, so we learn about life from each other. But, what if nearly all of us ordinary people are fed information from a source that controls in a self-serving fashion all information? Well, I am absolutely convinced that we live in a society that is in very large measure controlled by a ruling class consisting of very powerful and rich capitalists. Peruse all the articles written by independent thinkers I've collected and posted over the past nine years to see if you aren't also convinced of this. So what is the freedom of speech worth in such a society? The author is right that the much vaunted freedom of speech we supposedly enjoy is just another foolish illusion. 

The stark reality is that we live in a society where nearly all information is controlled by people who are rich and powerful mostly at our expense and sacrifice. Do you think they want you to be informed of this reality? That is why we are witnessing more and more control over information we receive and censorship of information that this class of people do not want us to think about. Many independent and dissident websites have lost so many viewers/readers because of this censorship. For the latest example, see this.

Crucifying Julian Assange

Click here to access article by Chris Hedges from Truthdig.

He opens his article with this dire statement:
Julian Assange’s sanctuary in the Ecuadorian Embassy in London has been transformed into a little shop of horrors. He has been largely cut off from communicating with the outside world for the last seven months. His Ecuadorian citizenship, granted to him as an asylum seeker, is in the process of being revoked. His health is failing. He is being denied medical care. His efforts for legal redress have been crippled by the gag rules, including Ecuadorian orders that he cannot make public his conditions inside the embassy in fighting revocation of his Ecuadorian citizenship.
But he ends with a call to protest. But the age of protest to our masters is over. Forget it. They aren't listening. They are completely under the influence of the drugs of power and riches, and like all addicts they are obsessed with accumulating ever more power and riches. It is for we, the people, to take matters in our own hands to free him one way or another.

Climate and the Infernal Blue Wave: Straight Talk About Saving Humanity

Click here to access article by Carol Dansereau posted on System Change not Climate Change.

I believe this is one of those rare times that I posted an article from a secondary website which has posted an article from a primary website/blog. I saw the headline from a feed reader which gives me titles of articles from various websites/blogs that I find reliable and of interest. One of those websites is CounterPunch. During the past five years I've found that its selection of articles increasingly take a rather insipid liberal-left orientation which is increasingly irritating as the main issues of a nuclear war holocaust and environmental catastrophe become increasingly dire for human existence.

CounterPunch is an old website that back in the 1990s I initially followed with great interest. Alexander Cockburn and his partner, Jeffrey St. Clair, published articles by authors that would critically deal with many issues that websites from mainstream corporation would not. Cockburn died in 2012 and his partner continued on with the website. Over the years the posted articles have become much less interesting to me, and I've nearly dropped them from my feed reader.

I spotted the headline of this article posted in CounterPunch in my feed reader, but was not interested primarily because of its source. Later in the day I received an email from System Change not Climate Change (SCNCC) alerting me to this article which they re-posted on their website. I read it and found it excellent. The author expressed her concerns about the dramatic warnings by a UN report which cited the short number of years we had left to prevent catastrophic climate warming which she saw were obviously caused by the operations of capitalism. I was very impressed! Few writers--although increasing in numbers--will write about the obvious solution: replacing capitalism with another system that will not destabilize the Earth's climate. And she wants to start organizing for this solution immediately! Early on she writes:
This is not a joke, or a drill. This is it. Decision-point for humankind. The UN says we have to turn things around within 12 years to avoid catastrophe. Others give us even less time.

We need to act.  And we need to act quickly. But we need to act rationally as well. It won’t help to run out and just “do something, anything” to fight for our future. We need to look honestly at whether the things we’ve been doing so far are effective. They aren’t.
She understands that working within the capitalist system which controls our nation can never be a solution because they, the ruling class, will never allow the system to be replaced--the tremendous power and wealth they enjoy is delivered by this system. We ordinary people must come to the rescue of our planet's ecosystem to save our ourselves, the rest of humanity, and future generations! She writes:
Some say it’s crazy to fight for system change, leaving the Democrats and incrementalism behind.  “System change is impossible” they maintain.  “We can’t possibly achieve it in time to stave off disaster.”  But which is crazier really?  Fighting for actual control over our destiny, or continuing to fight within the very system that produced global warming, a system that thoroughly disempowers us?
Enough said. Read the article in which she has some specific suggestions about how get the system-change started ... and act!

Tuesday, November 13, 2018

Great powers commemorate First World War, and plan the next one

Click here to access article by Andre Damon from World Socialist Web Site.
Over the past weekend, the leaders of the world’s great powers met in France to commemorate the official end of World War I. German Chancellor Angela Merkel, French President Emmanuel Macron and US President Donald Trump pulled long faces, hugged each other and gave speeches lamenting the “horror” and “tragedy” of a war that claimed more than 16 million lives.

But their talk of “tragedy” and “suicide” could not hide the fact that they are all engaged in active preparations for a new and deadly world military conflict.

False Reports In U.S. Media Suggest A Great Deception

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

Bernhard spots another lie (fake news alert) that was published by the Empire's premier newspaper, and will likely be picked up by a number of other media throughout the USA. 
The New York Times is lying to its readers about the commitments of an adversarial state. It did not learn a single lesson from its fake reporting that led the Iraq War. It again furthers hostile aggression.
In a piece published today, In North Korea, Missile Bases Suggest a Great Deception, the paper lies about North Korea's commitments:
Although major media corporations always served the capitalist ruling class, The NY Times, The Washington Post, along with all major media have become thoroughly integrated into the Deep State (see my commentary here which explains the concept) that rules the capitalist Empire. They are now little more than propaganda platforms for the Deep State and its Empire.

Monday, November 12, 2018

Two articles that express what I think about this anniversary of WWI [updated on 11/13/2018]

Over the weekend I've listened to the commemoration of our capitalist masters of this "war to end all wars". Although they dressed up their programs with solemn music and even an opera about when the soldiers in both sides of the conflict came together to celebrate Christmas, nowhere I saw any analysis of why the war was fought in the media that they control. These articles from independent writers and websites explain what they chose to ignore. 

This is my offering for this 100 year anniversary of the horrible war of WWI. All wars are terrible, but WWI was the worst the world had yet ever seen in terms of deaths (16 million) and suffering of ordinary people over a major part of the globe.

1) What did they die for? (Part 3 only) by John Molyneux from Rebel, an Irish socialist website. 

This article adequately explains why the new capitalist ruling classes were so willing to sacrifice the lives of ordinary working people for their petty ambitions of power and profits.  By this time more sophisticated weapons were developed like airplanes, tanks, large warships, machine guns, and poison gas. It was a slaughterhouse that took the lives of an estimated 16 million ordinary people to satisfy the appetites of capitalist ruling classes that had emerged from the 19th century. 

But our capitalist masters would not be satisfied with the results of this "war to end all wars". Soon after the conclusion of this war, WWII started, and it caused around 80 millions deaths among ordinary people while it enriched many of the already rich capitalist classes.

2) The armistice of November 11, 1918 and the lessons for today by Nick Beams from World Socialist Web Site

Beams writes about this war, but in the context of all these capitalist wars fought by workers to carve up the world among capitalist ruling classes for their benefit. After two major global wars he brings us up-to-date to the current scene in which the capitalist US Empire appear to be planning a final war that threatens the very existence of humans.
They were only temporarily subsumed under the domination of the United States. The disease which had gripped the global capitalist system was not cured, it only went into a period of remission. This period has now ended.

The very development of global capitalism after 1945 has brought about the relative and absolute decline of the United States. Confronted with the resurgence of its old rivals in Europe and Asia and the emergence of a potential new challenger in the form of China it now prepares to wage world war. And all the other imperialist powers are on the same road. They were only temporarily subsumed under the domination of the United States. The disease which had gripped the global capitalist system was not cured, it only went into a period of remission. This period has now ended.

The very development of global capitalism after 1945 has brought about the relative and absolute decline of the United States. Confronted with the resurgence of its old rivals in Europe and Asia and the emergence of a potential new challenger in the form of China it now prepares to wage world war. 
Now our arrogant masters seem to be planning another global nuclear war holocaust that would likely cause the extinction of all humans. Experts like Stephen Cohen fear this is about to happen--unless of course we can prevent it by taking away their ownership and control of most of the world's economy.

Sunday, November 11, 2018

As CNN, Media Cry Over Acosta, Trump is Free to Prosecute Assange for Airing US War Crimes

Click here to access article by Patrick Henningsen from 21st Century Wire.
Know that anyone could be (and have in the past been) Julian Assange; any publisher, any journalist, any writer, any poet, any professor, any artist, or any citizen. In that sense, we are all Julian Assange.

For these reasons, we should all be concerned with the plight of Julian Assange, and should speak out now in support of his own human rights. In doing so, you’ll also be advancing the right to free speech and press freedom.

That is, the right to publish and be damned.
This is the way the author ends his excellent essay on the masters of the Empire with their continuing persecution of Julian Assange in a desperate effort to hide their war crimes from us. I wish I could be as optimistic as the author is about "right to publish and be damned". The latter was only a part of the propaganda that our past capitalist masters used to fool the public into acquiescence to their rule. Now that their rule is threatened, it will be another story.

Along with Julian Assange our access to real information about the crimes that our mob-masters are committing in their capitalist Empire and beyond is slowly being diminished as we head into the long night of fascism. Meanwhile, too many people (mostly in the middle classes) continue to believe that this is merely a nightmare from which they will with profound relief awaken, and all will return to the past "normal" where they enjoyed so many advantages.