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, March 9, 2019

Recommended articles for Saturday, March 9, 2019

The Empire's YouTube strikes again!

Inside the neoliberal laboratory preparing for the theft of Venezuela’s economy

Click here to access article by Canadian Justin Podur from his blog.

This article illustrates the latest use of co-option by the ruling capitalist class to assimilate the well-trained upper-middle class to support the project of advanced capitalist US/Anglo/Zionist Empire--world domination. Because these people have had years of training and survived the filtering out process of institutions of "higher learning", they have been selected from the top universities of the Empire (such as Harvard) to engage their well-honed talents to the Empire's regime-change project in Venezuela. They will be well rewarded by enjoying safe, highly paid careers in academia.
... US foreign policy mobilizes every available resource for regime change and for counterinsurgency. Among those resources, you will always find academics. The pen may not always be mightier than the sword, but behind every US-backed war on a foreign people there will be a body of scholarly work.

The academic laboratory of the Venezuelan coup has the highest academic pedigree of all—it’s housed at Harvard.

As the World Burns: Hurtling Towards an Unlivable Planet

Click here to access article by Paul Street from CounterPunch

This the first article I've encountered from a (legitimate) fringe left-wing online website/blog (given that the US political spectrum has shifted rather dramatically to the right in this new century) that deals explicitly with the end of humans simply because the end is in sight and it can no longer be ignored. Expect many more such articles in our limited future as we stare into the headlights of our disappearance as a species. 

Street even knows what is responsible for this catastrophe with his coining of the word "capitalogenic". However, he implicitly regards this species ending event as "unthinkable" by presenting so much evidence that spells our doom as a species, but still holding out, rather lamely, hopeful remarks that we can still change things and save ourselves. His final paragraph illustrates this:
The reigning political and media “elite” is happy to keep capitalogenic global warming on the public margins until long past the last ecological tipping points are passed. They can be counted on them to fiddle and diddle through the species’ final, fossil-fueled flame-out. It is an existential necessity to create a new culture, media, and politics with the elementary natural and social intelligence required to properly prioritize the most pressing problems of our time.
I am frequently guilty of doing the same thing in my commentaries, but in my saner moments I simply want to seek revenge on a tiny capitalist class that has caused our disappearance from the Earth. This is no ordinary crime. 

Friday, March 8, 2019

Presstitutes Turn Blind Eye to UN Report on Venezuela

Click here to access article by Paul Craig Roberts from his blog. (I thank a longtime environmental activist for alerting me to this post.)

This originator of the word "presstitutes" points out the rather obvious imperialist bias in reports by the "presstitutes employed by Western media corporations of recent events in Venezuela in order to secure their careers and prepare your minds to accept another of the Empire's regime change operations.
Don’t you think something is fishy when the presstitutes orchestrate a fake news “humanitarian crisis” in Venezuela, but totally ignore the real humanitarian crises in Yemen and Gaza? 

Don’t you think something is really very rotten when the expert, Alfred Mauricer de Zayas,  sent by the UN to Venezuela to evaluate the situation finds no interest by any Western media or any Western government in his report?

Don’t you think it is a bit much for Washington to steal $21 billion of Venezuela’s money, impose sanctions in an effort to destabalize the country and to drive the Venezuelan government to its knees, blame Venezuelan socialism (essentially nationalization of the oil company) for bringing “starvation to the people,” and offer a measely $21 million in “humanitarian aid.”

Netflix’s Trotsky: A toxic combination of historical fabrication and blatant anti-Semitism

Click here to access article by David North and Clara Weiss from World Socialist Web Site

Once again we learn about the Empire's attempt to manage our thoughts and views about history in order to support their anti-socialist propaganda. This time it is a film series about Trotsky (streamed), one of history's great supporters and promoters of socialism, a system that promotes real democracy and egalitarianism--a system that does away with concentrated power and wealth and which all capitalists fear. This film series illustrate what real antisemitism looks like.
What is being presented by Netflix is not history. It is not even an artistic fictionalization of history, in which certain liberties have been taken for legitimate dramatic purposes. Netflix’s series is a monstrously reactionary exercise in historical falsification. There is not a single scene that attempts to depict historical events with any discernable degree of accuracy. Most of the scenes are grotesque fabrications. Not a single character, least of all Leon Trotsky, bears any resemblance to the historical figure the series purports to represent.

To state the issue posed by this series as bluntly and precisely as possible: Netflix’s Trotsky is the most explicitly and unrelentingly anti-Semitic film that has ever been presented to an American and international television audience.

US House broadly condemns hate amid divide over Ilhan Omar

Click here to access article from Al Jazeera. (Note that Rep. Ilhan Omar is a US Congresswoman from a district in Minneapolis.)
"I want to talk about ... political influence in this country that says it's OK for people to push for allegiance for a foreign country," Omar said during a Washington, DC event. "I want to ask why is it OK for me to talk about influence of the NRA, or fossil fuels industries, or big pharma, and not to talk about powerful lobbying that is influencing policy."

After the event, Jonathan Greenblatt, the national director of the Anti-Defamation League, said in a letter to Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi that the comments were a "vile anti-Semitic slur". Some in the House, including Eliot Engel and Nita Lowey, publicly criticised Omar and demanded an apology. 
You may also be interested in a post from Guns and Butter in which Bonnie Faulkner, the show's host, interviews Alison Weir for about one hour.
We discuss Alison Weir’s extended essay, published as a pamphlet, “The International Campaign to Criminalize Criticism of Israel”; the traditional definition of anti-Semitism and the new “improved” 3-D definition of anti-Semitism; the history of the campaign to criminalize criticism of Israel; the many international and national organizations that have adopted and promote the new definition; policing the new anti-Semitism on college campuses; thought crime; AIPAC and ADL; the crack-down on pro-Palestinian political activity; the multiple hundreds of groups that lobby for Israel; current congressional legislation.

Texts show Portland police collaborated with hate group

Click here to access article by Steve McNalley from Liberation

A rare find involving text communication between a police lieutenant and a local fascist group, Patriot Prayer, and published by a local Portland (OR) newspaper, Willamette Weekly, is an illustration of the functions of police to protect the ruling capitalist class. Whenever the ruling class is threatened they turn to violent groups to salvage their rule. The classic example of this is in the Great Depression of the 1930s when numerous workers' parties sprung up all over the West. Many US and other European capitalists supported and funded the Nazi Party in Germany. (See also my commentary here for an elaboration in history of this tendency.)

McNalley offers an excellent general observation that the Portland incident illustrates:
These events speak to the historically prevalent trend in the United States of police forces working hand-in-hand with the ultra-right. This is evident from the history of policing as an institution in this country, including their origins as slave catchers and union busters, the coordinated attacks on the Black liberation movement, and the continued over-policing of peaceful protests at Standing Rock and of the Black Lives Matter movement. The police do not exist to protect the people. The police exist to protect the interests of the ruling class and the capitalist system that keeps the majority of people marginalized and oppressed. To that end, they will continue to join forces with violent reactionary groups like PP [Patriot Prayer] who uphold the status quo through force and intimidation. Only by overturning the capitalist system can we hope to effectively and permanently end the threat posed to our communities by groups like PP and the police forces that enable and support them. [my emphasis and insertion]

Thursday, March 7, 2019

The Propaganda Multiplier

Click here to access article from Swiss Propaganda Research. (a "best post")
It is one of the most important aspects of our media system – and yet hardly known to the public: most of the international news coverage in Western media is provided by only three global news agencies based in New York, London and Paris.
The key role played by these agencies means that Western media often report on the same topics, even using the same wording. In addition, governments, military and intelligence services use these global news agencies as multipliers to spread their messages around the world.
A study of the Syria war coverage by nine leading European newspapers clearly illustrates these issues: 78% of all articles were based in whole or in part on agency reports, yet 0% on investigative research. Moreover, 82% of all opinion pieces and interviews were in favor of the US and NATO intervention, while propaganda was attributed exclusively to the opposite side.

Mark Zuckerberg’s Dilemma: Eventually Silicon Valley Will Fall…

Click here to access article by Caleb Maupin from New Eastern Outlook. (Updated at 12:15 PM CT on Friday, March 8, 2019 to include video from RT.)

Maupin uses an historical context regarding the use of propaganda that justifies the rule of powerful social-economic ruling classes to their own populations. His take on Zuckerberg and his Facebook is that he is defending against ruling class pressure to increase the aggressive use of ruling class propaganda in order to prolong the life of Facebook. Because Zuckerberg knows history (according to Maupin), he knows that excessive disinformation can hurt his powerful profit machine and his virtual monopoly over social media.
Sections of the political establishment seem to be demanding that Mark Zuckerberg use his power to shut down speech they deem to be harmful, specifically speech that undermines the narratives of US foreign policy. And while Facebook has certainly done this on multiple occasions, certain powerful voices perceive some reluctance in this censorship and are quite angry about it.

But the reality is, if Facebook becomes too strict and heavy-handed, those seeking alternative views will go elsewhere. This result would be far more damaging to both Zuckerberg and the political establishment in the long term.
As the headline suggests, Maupin sees Zuckerberg's reluctance to these pressures as only temporary.

(You may be interested in this RT video indicating that younger people are getting off of Facebook.)

(If this article was of interest to you, you might also find another article entitled "On TEDx, Gene Therapy, Profits, and Criminal Thinking" by Phil Butler from the same source.)

Wednesday, March 6, 2019

The beginning of a social “Stalingrad” in Europe: the Yellow Vests against the totalitarian Empire of Finance (part 1 of 3)

Click here to access article by Dimitris Konstantakopoulos from United World, a leftist Turkey-based site. (Updated at 1 PM CT to provide a link to the reference in the article to Mirabeau.)

This is one of the most insightful articles I've seen on the Yellow Vest movement in France. For example, one insight of his got me thinking that it had meaning for the election of Trump. When he asked a French minority party official, Asselineau: 
Can this Rebellion “carnival” turn into a real Revolution? “What is happening in your country? Is it a rebellion? Can we say that it is a Revolution?” I ask Francois Asselineau , a man well acquainted with French history and EU treaties, deeply Gaullist in his ideology and leader of a small party which campaigns for the exit of France from the EU and NATO.
The author writes:
I understand that he is troubled and hesitates to answer – just as with anyone else to whom I have asked the same question. He finally turns to me “I don’t know. Something is missing. There is a portion of the people not ready to risk everything”.
I hear him and what comes to my mind is Wilhelm Reich’s diagnosis. This renowned Marxist-Freudian writer of the inter-war period contributed one of the most insightful analyses of Nazism and was expelled from both the Communist Party and the International Psychoanalytic Association due to his nonconformist and critical thinking. He wrote that the Germans had it bad in the 1930s because they wanted a Revolution but they were afraid of it. Instead of doing it themselves they appointed Hitler to do it for them – and the rest is history.
Also, reference to Mirabeau, a figure of the French Revolution, is made here

Tuesday, March 5, 2019

Recommended articles for Tuesday, March 5, 2019

Hopefully, he means system change because regime change from one capitalist party to another will change very little, if anything.

Joao Pedro Stédile: “Venezuela is Extremely Important Because it is the Battle of This Century”

Click here to access an interview with Stédile conducted by Carlos Aznarez posted on Internationalist 360°. 
This past week’s Latin American Summary covered everything that happened at the International People’s Assembly (AIP), held in Caracas, in solidarity with the people and government of Venezuela represented by Nicolás Maduro. Almost 500 delegates from 90 countries of the world attended the event, and one of the most ardent supporters of this initiative in the last two years is the leader of the Landless Movement of Brazil, Joao Pedro Stédile.
I was quite impressed with the political sophistication of Brazilian activist Stédile, and now hold much hope for the continuing struggle in Venezuela, which could very well be pivotal, against the US/Anglo/Zionist Empire that is currently ravishing the world's people, threatening catastrophic global wars, and destroying the biosphere that we all depend on. Read the details. (By the way, "MST" refers to Brazil's Landless Workers' Movement.)

Charter School Promoters Terrified of Growing Opposition to Their Full-Frontal Assault on Public Education

Click here to access article by Shawgi Tell from Dissident Voice
Charter schools mainly enrich major owners of capital while masquerading as education arrangements that “empower parents,” “increase choice,” “serve the kids,” and “close the achievement gap.” The rich and those who wittingly and unwittingly agree with them believe that the chaos, anarchy, and violence of the so-called “free market” is a modern and socially responsible way to organize mass public education in a society based on mass industrial production.

Because the tide is slowly but surely turning against their wrecking activities, supporters and beneficiaries of charter schools are becoming even more arrogant and belligerent in their efforts to expand charter schools.

The Fascinating Spell Cast by Weasels

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

Curtin expresses his thoughts about one of three human weaknesses that looks increasingly likely to cause the extinction of humans--the fascination of humans for weasel-like others who exude authority and power:
It’s still the same old story, a gory story of the fight to dominate and control that is coterminous with human history or longer. It is an ancient myth that we still live by.  As in days of old, the siren song is often sexual in nature, not sexual in the passionately loving sense, not an encounter between two unknowns seeking to discover each other, but an instrumental sexual enticement wrapped in power, prestige, money, false charm and fake bravado whose purpose is domination.
The other two are: the seduction of power that often leads to the corruption of people (related to the latter weakness), and the lure of immediate gratification in place of an ability to assess developments in the future that might pose threats .  

Monday, March 4, 2019

Financial Imperialism-The Case of Venezuela

Click here to access article by Jack Rasmus from his blog. 

By reading this article you will learn about the details of the 21st century's method of imperialism developed by the US/Anglo/Zionist Empire to destabilize (or to regime-change) governments, using Venezuela as an illustration, that interfere with the Empire's quest for profits and power to the extent of global domination. (Venezuela is much more vulnerable to this method of attack than are Iran, Russia, and China.)
Financial imperialism has been waged against Venezuela for decades, but the attack on Venezuela employing financial measures has recently intensified as the US neocons and imperialists have accelerated their plans to launch a more direct attack by political means, including military, to force regime change in Venezuela. At the center of the on-going, and now intensifying, financial warfare against the country by the US are measures designed to destroy Venezuela’s currency.

The Prisoner Says No to Big Brother

Click here to access article by John Pilger from his blog.

Pilger reports on a recent visit with Julian Assange in which the parallels between Julian Assange and George Orwell's characters and themes are striking.  He uses Assange's courageous example to inspire all of us to:
... stop scrolling. Organise. Occupy. Insist. Persist. Make a noise. Take direct action. Be brave and stay brave. Defy the thought police.

War is not peace, freedom is not slavery, ignorance is not strength. If Julian can stand up to Big Brother, so can you: so can all of us.