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, June 1, 2019

Brainwashing in Action: Pence Hails Virtue of ‘Certain War’

Click here to access article by Finian Cunningham from Strategic Culture Foundation.
In an address to West Point military graduates, US Vice President Mike Pence told them they will one day fight for America. “It’s a virtual certainty,” said Pence who was swelling with pride as he spoke, rather than lamenting.

Well, at least, he is being candid.
Cunningham goes on to expose Empire propaganda for what it is: a deceptive and deceitful cover for the outright fascist commitment to the use of force to attain ever greater power and profits. 

France's Yellow Vests, State Violence and The Way Forward

Click here to access an 1:37:01 interview with "three-time French Presidential candidate, Jacques Cheminade, President of the French party Solidarité et Progrès", conducted by Dr. Kirk Meighoo (Trinidad and Tobago). (Updated at 1:10 PM CT)

I am posting this as a way of acquanting you with another independent thinker, Dr. Meighoo, whose interview with "The Sake" I posted today. But, in addition, I think the views of Jacques Cheminade, as well as Dr. Meighoo, are also insightful regarding the ongoing Yellow Vests protests and general issues facing most ordinary people today. On the subject of global warming and some other subjects, I obviously don't agree with the two.

Kirk Meighoo interviews the Saker on The “Russia Question” and the “New Cold War”

Click here if you wish to access the interview directly from "The Saker's" blog, A bird's eye view of the Vineyard. The interview is conducted by Kirk Meighoo (of Trinidad and Tobago and you can access his blog here), an admirer of Andrei Raevsky ("The Saker"). Meighoo succeeds in eliciting the fundamental views and background that has shaped the uniquely independent views and geopolitical analysis that Raevsky has expressed on various major issues over the past decade. I particularly want to draw attention to details provided by Raevsky at roughly 2:40m, 19:05m, and 41:20m. 

Let me be clear that I always don't agree with his views, but I respect him as an independent thinker. I find it strange that he clings to the culture and religion of Orthodox Christianity.

I found it to be well worth my time and effort to listen to the entire 1:06:39 interview. 


Friday, May 31, 2019

Articles recommended for Friday, May 31, 2019

The attorney of WikiLeaks founder and journalist Julian Assange’s has revealed that he was too ill to appear in a video chat for his extradition hearing. Assange has spent the past seven weeks at Belmarsh prison, where his health has continued to deteriorate. The WikiLeaks founder faces extradition to the US over “espionage” charges dating back to 2010. Former UK MP George Galloway joins In Question to break this all down.
Aren't the wildfires early this year? I was wondering why the skies out my window in southern Minnesota were gray when the day was supposed to be sunny. But having turned on a TM weather station, I learned that the residents in the area were warned to stay inside because of the polluted air.

UN Says Assange Tortured: Join Us Live Online at 4pm

Click here to access article from Consortium News
Julian Assange is in Belmarsh Prison hospital after his Swedish lawyer said he was too ill to carry on a conversation. Join us live for a discussion of the latest.

The 32nd webcast vigil for Julian Assange can be seen here starting on Friday at 4 pm US Eastern time
[3 PM CT, 2 PM MT, and 1 PM PT], 9 PM in London, 10 pm in Europe, and 6 am Saturday in Australia for a three-hour online discussion with hosts Elizabeth Vos and Joe Lauria.  [my link insertion]

Washington’s Silent Weapon for Not-so-quiet Wars. “A World Full of Dollars”, A 2019 Global Economic Crisis

Click here to access article, a re-post from November of 2018, by F. William Engdahl from Global Research.

It's clear that capitalist ruling classes who control the US/Anglo/Zionist Empire don't want a shooting war that would destroy much of their assets, but choose to defend their Empire's domination of the world by waging economic war using their control of the world's primary currency, the US dollar. 

I think the directors of this capitalist Empire are desperately trying to find some way to maintain their control over the world and this is another way. But, will it work? And, what will be the consequences for ordinary people of the world who always suffer when capitalists inevitably resort to war as a means to secure their domination?

Engdahl doesn't report this, but instead places emphasis on the economies of Eurasia if the Empire wins:
If Washington succeeds on November 4 in cutting all Iran oil exports, world (dollar) oil prices could soar above 100 dollars, adding dramatically to the developing world dollar shortage. This is war by other means. The Fed dollar strategy is acting now as a “silent weapon” for not so quiet wars. If it continues it could deal a serious setback to the growing independence of Eurasian countries around the China New Silk Road and the Russia-China-Iran alternative to the dollar system. The role of the dollar as lead global reserve currency and the ability of the Federal Reserve to control it, is a weapon of massive destruction and a strategic pillar of American superpower control. Are the nations of Eurasia or even the ECB [European Central Bank] ready to deal effectively?  [my insertion]
I seriously doubt that the Empire will win this war of desperation. But what is not in doubt in my mind is that we humans are doomed anyway through the machinations of our capitalist masters and our failure to take power away from them. That means to deprive them of the ownership and control of our economy and most of the world's economies.

One true prophet of our failure dates back to the 1960s and 70s--Phil Ochs. Examine his statements that often made it into his songs about our future. He is said to have committed suicide, but informed people dispute that. Could his death be another illustration, among many, of Sen. Chuck Schumer's warning that those who cross the CIA, the Empire's secret organization has many ways to punish them?  

Global Poverty: How the Rich Eat the Poor and the World...[and] The Big Lies

Click here to access article by Prof. John McMurtry re-posted on Global Research (based in Canada).

It isn't often that we find modern day oracles whose perceptions reveal the truth about our existence. Maybe McMurtry was one who three years ago saw what few people saw: rich capitalists eating the poor and the world (the environment). But apparently he hasn't given up because I notice in his bio at the end of the article that he sees a cure in his most recent book entitled The Cancer Stage of Capitalism: From Crisis to Cure. I, on the other hand, am convinced that "The Big Lies" (of the agents of capitalism) won, and now it is too late to prevent our and many life forms from going the way of the Dodo bird

We learn from Wikipedia that "It is estimated that more than 99% of all species that ever existed on Earth, amounting to over five billion species, are extinct." Why should anyone believe that human species are exempt from a similar fate (excepting those whose religion in spite of science place a special exemption on humans)? The well-trained, indoctrinated, and well paid media apologists employed by our drugged-out capitalist masters are actively trying to convince us that this threat lies in the distant future and that our masters will come up with all kinds of technological fixes to prevent this from happening. Do you believe this "Big Lie" too? 

Escaping extinction through paradigm shift

Click here to access article by Nafeez Ahmed from his blog Insurge Intelligence.

This British commentator senses that something is wrong with "the system", but only names it one time in this essay, and then identifies this system with all kinds of qualifiers: it's "contemporary neoliberal capitalism-as-we-know-it". So, one can infer that capitalism is not the problem per se (def.), but it is that we have strayed from the wonderful system our "Founding Fathers" left for us. 

Maybe I am being too cynical, but I can't help it. These soft critics of capitalism were "educated", or rather trained by the system and amply rewarded; and now that it is too late, they sound the alarm and say that we need to escape "extinction through a paradigm shift", a cleaned-up intellectualization of the messy concept of revolution. I expect we will see a lot more of this type of hand-wringing in the very challenging days ahead.

Thursday, May 30, 2019

Articles recommended for Thursday, May 30, 2019.

  • Climate Capitalists -- this is actually a collection of relevant articles posted on Winter Oak, a British based website.

Wednesday, May 29, 2019

Between the Devil and the Green New Deal

Click here to access article by Jasper Bernes, the Managing Editor of Commune, from Commune

The author provides us with a comprehensive analysis of the Green New Deal (GND) proposed by reformers, and its potential for solving the climate crisis that is presently threatening to destroy humans and many other species. He shows convincingly, in my opinion, that the GND is a vague illusory promise to not only solve the climate crisis, but to provide universal health care, and full employment. Thus, it sounds like a campaign promise that promises everything to everyone. Further, he claims that saving capitalism and saving humans is a lie. Here are the main passages that exhibit his reasoning:
To replace current US energy consumption with renewables, you’d need to devote at least 25–50 percent of the US landmass to solar, wind, and biofuels, according to the estimates made by Vaclav Smil, the grand doyen of energy studies. Is there room for that and expanding human habitation? For that and pasture for a massive meat and dairy industry? For that and the forest we’d need to take carbon out of the air? Not if capitalism keeps doing the thing which it can’t not keep doing—grow. The law of capitalism is the law of more—more energy, more stuff, more materials. It introduces efficiencies only to more effectively despoil the planet. There is no solution to the climate crisis which leaves capitalism’s compulsions to growth intact. And this is what the Green New Deal, a term coined by that oily neoliberal, Thomas Friedman, doesn’t address. It thinks you can keep capitalism, keep growth, but remove the deleterious consequences. The death villages are here to tell you that you can’t. No roses will bloom on that bush.
It’s easy to get lost in the weeds here and lose sight of the essential. In each of these scenarios, on each of these sad, warming planets, the Green New Deal fails because capitalism. Because, in capitalism, a small class of owners and managers, in competition with itself, finds itself forced to make a set of narrow decisions about where to invest and in what, establishing prices, wages, and other fundamental determinants of the economy. Even if these owners wanted to spare us the drowned cities and billion migrants of 2070, they could not. They would be undersold and bankrupted by others. Their hands are tied, their choices constrained, by the fact that they must sell at the prevailing rate or perish. It is the class as a whole that decides, not its individual members. This is why the sentences of Marxists (and Marx) so often treat capital as agent rather than object. The will towards relentless growth, and with it increasing energy use, is not chosen, it is compelled, a requirement of profitability where profitability is a requirement of existence.
To those who believe that the GND can serve as a "transitional program", he writes: 
If you build a party and other institutions around the idea of solving climate change within capitalism, do not be surprised when some large fraction of that party resists your attempt to convert it into a revolutionary organ. The history of socialist and communist parties is reason for caution. Even after the leaders of the Second International betrayed its members by sending them to slaughter each other in the First World War, and even after a huge fraction split to form revolutionary organizations in the wake of the Russian Revolution, many continued to support it, out of habit and because it had built a thick network of cultural and social structures to which they were bound by a million and one ties. Beware that, in pursuit of the transitional program, you do not build up the forces of your future enemy.
He then reaches this rational conclusion:
We cannot keep things the same and change everything. We need a revolution, a break with capital and its killing compulsions, though what that looks like in the twenty-first century is very much an open question. A revolution that had as its aim the flourishing of all human life would certainly mean immediate decarbonization, a rapid decrease in energy use for those in the industrialized global north, no more cement, very little steel, almost no air travel, walkable human settlements, passive heating and cooling, a total transformation of agriculture, and a diminishment of animal pasture by an order of magnitude at least. All of this is possible, but not if we continue to shovel one half of all the wealth produced on the planet into the maw of capital, not if we continue to sacrifice some fraction of each generation by sending them into the pits, not if we continue to allow those whose only aim is profit to decide how we live.

For now, a revolution is not on the horizon. We’re stuck between the devil and the green new deal and I can hardly blame anyone for committing themselves to the hope at hand rather than ambient despair. Perhaps work on legislative reforms will mean the difference between the unthinkable and the merely unbearable. But let’s not lie to each other.
But what if revolution were possible to overturn the capitalist rule and restore ordinary humans to exercise control over their planet, and these people became instantly highly informed instead of dumbed-down as to the threat of global warming? Well, as McPherson argues, we would still have, what has become known as, McPherson's Paradox to deal with. 

The latter explains that in addition to spewing greenhouse gases, mainly carbon dioxide, into our atmosphere, we have also spewed other substances that act as dimmer of solar radiation that is heating up our planet Earth. So if we had the technological means to stop the heating of our planet through geoengineering, which we don't, we could easily accelerate the global warming crisis. This is a synopsis of this paradox. But I should let the biologist and generalist (of the physical sciences) Guy McPherson explain this paradox in his own words:
The only problem I have with McPherson's analysis is his targeting "civilization" as the culprit that has led humans to this critical point. McPherson's has been trained in the physical sciences, but his weaknesses in the liberal arts is evident. He doesn't know of the history comprising the last 10,000 years of one ruling class after another dominating the rest of their societies, and likewise the efforts of ordinary people both successful and unsuccessful at eliminating one ruling class after another. However, revolutionary efforts at eliminating the rule of capitalists has apparently been too much for ordinary humans to accomplish. The latest and most dominant transnational ruling class, the US/Anglo/Zionist Empire, has used the advancements of knowledge to avert any further revolution. But in their obsessive concern to amass profits and power, they have destroyed the habitat that supports human life and that of many other species.

Civilization has a broad concept has at its core meaning a desire to understand our human existence. To suggest that we could have saved ourselves by remaining ignorant and scrounging around looking for plants that we can dig up and animals to kill in order to eat and survive is completely absurd.  

Monday, May 27, 2019

Unexpected surge in global methane levels

Click here to access article from Climate Nexus which "is a sponsored project of Rockefeller Philanthropy Advisors".  

I am not sure who the scientific organizations this article referred to, but some scientists clearly expected this surge because of increasing temperatures in the polar regions and the melting of the permafrost. I've posted at least six articles with scientific documentation that scientists, based on research, expected the increase in methane level in the past five years: 3-5°C temperature rise is now ‘locked-in’ for the Arctic, The climate emergency with Dahr Jamail, Arctic thaw imperils climate goals, Climate change in the Anthropocene: An unstoppable drive to Hothouse Earth?, Researchers Tally the Global Cost of Melting Permafrost, and Thawing Permafrost Will ‘Seep, Not Explode’ CO2.

Some scientists, particularly those who support the findings of biologist and generalist Guy McPherson, argue that it is already too late to avoid catastrophic climate destabilization: Support for action surges, majority say we face climate emergency, Hope is a Mistake and a Lie, David Suzuki & GM [Guy McPherson]- Abrupt Climate Change - Compassion in the Face of Death, No Surrender, and Two articles written by highly educated scholars illustrates the power of capitalist ideology.

Sunday, May 26, 2019

Shielding the World From US Chaos Is No Easy Task

Click here to access article by Federico Pieraccini from Strategic Culture Foundation.

Since the Empire's failure to overturn the government of Syria and other evidence, there has been wide speculation that US weapons supplied in abundance by the US military industry has turned the Empire into a largely "paper tiger". Pieraccini evidently holds this view which is supported by considerable evidence. He writes:
Pentagon planners have no intention of revealing their military vulnerabilities in a war with Iran. The loss of US military prestige would also show to countries hitherto under Washington’s thumb that this dog has more bark than bite, making it all the more difficult for the US to browbeat countries with the threat of military force in the future.

What Trump seems to find difficult to understand is that his foreign policy is slowly eroding the superpower status of the US. The free pass Trump has given to the neocons and the pro-Israel and pro-Saudi lobbies have only served to bring the US the the brink of a new war with Venezuela, the DPRK, Iran or Syria. With Trump not really committed to any war himself, this will only lead to a humiliating backdown.
In spite of Trump's love affair with Israel and Saudi Arabia, I wonder if the Deep State, a virtual board of directors of the US capitalist circles and influentials in British and others in the ruling classes of the US/Anglo, Zionist Empire are aware of this theoretical reality and argument. Just wondering.

Fine dust and fossil capital in Korea

Click here to access article by John R. Eperjesi from Climate & Capitalism.

This professor living and working in Seoul, Republic of Korea (South Korea), has noticed rising levels of concern in South Korea as polluted air has been darkening skies over the country. He writes:
In Korea, China is often blamed for the pollution wreckage, a scapegoating one routinely hears from taxi drivers, random people on the subway, students, and even from some professors. The blaming of China has radiated throughout Korean society, amplified by opportunistic politicians and click-bait media headlines, resulting in a hysterical us vs. them opposition that views fine dust as an illegal immigrant, sneaking across borders and corrupting our clean air. This nationalist narrative has unleashed some disturbing online violence against China and Chinese people.

There is no doubt about the fact that a significant amount of air pollution originating in mainland China drifts across the Korean Peninsula. But here I want to offer an alternative ecocritical framework for thinking about the crisis of air pollution in South Korea in which fine dust is viewed as a product of fossil capital, defined by Andreas Malm as “an economy of self-sustaining growth predicated on growing consumption of fossil fuels, and therefore generating sustained growth in emissions of carbon dioxide.”[2]

The US is aware the confrontation with Iran is over a large geographical area: next rendezvous in less than 60 days

Click here to access article by Elijah J Magnier from his blog.

I missed the two significant points to this article when I hurriedly read it after returning from vacation: 1) the Zionist lobby will likely support Trump in the next election; and 2) the 60 day limit that Iran's government has decided to impose on a re-negotiation of the JCPOA agreement, which Trump unilaterally cancelled, before restarting it nuclear weapons development. Magnier interprets this as meaning that if Europe withdraws imports of fossil fuels from Iran that Iran will begin development of nuclear weapons. 

Addressing point number one, I think that many domestic political analysts think that Trump will be defeated in the 2020 presidential elections, but Magnier suggests that this is not so because of the influence that the powerful Zionist lobby has over US policies and because of Trump's full support of Israel interests. Point well taken.

Point number 2. I think that European countries decisions to not comply with US restrictions on importing energy from Iran could signal a major turning point in the dominance of the US/Anglo/Zionist Empire instead of merely signaling a deadline for Iran's project for nuclear weapons development. I think that many of the capitalists in European countries are wavering in their allegiance to the belligerently aggressive policies of the Empire, and are more interested in their own economic well-being. These countries may be forced to pay higher prices for their energy if they comply with the US sanctions (being forced to pay higher prices to import US natural gas), and the economic benefits of joining China's Belt and Road Initiative are very inviting for European capitalists.

In This Blitzkrieg of Idiocy, Fascist Marches, Fake-news Coups, and What Looks Like a Race Toward Extinction – What is the Place of Literature?

Click here to access a speech given by Arundhati Roy posted in Scroll.in (India). (This is a transcript of her lecture at the PEN America Arthur Miller Freedom to Write Lecture delivered by her on May 12 in New York City.)

I discovered this by reading a very abridged version on Wrong Kind of Green's website that narrowly excerpted her comments about the threatening climate destabilization. This post gives the full version of her talk which, I believe, portrays Indian politics as much the same as the Empire's politics, but with an Indian accent which gives us insights about what is going on in this second most populous country. In addition, I think there is much to be learned from her profound observations about reality as we head into the nightmare of climate destabilization and human extinction.

She also asks, and provides her answers to, the following question:
‘In this blitzkrieg of idiocy, fascist marches, fake-news coups, and what looks like a race toward extinction – what is the place of literature?’