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, May 2, 2020

Posts that I especially recommend today: Saturday, May 2, 2020

Caleb Maupin is a widely acclaimed speaker, writer, journalist, and political analyst. He has traveled extensively in the Middle East and in Latin America. He was involved with the Occupy Wall Street movement from its early planning stages, and has been involved many struggles for social justice. He is an outspoken advocate of international friendship and cooperation, as well 21st Century Socialism.
  • Gun-toting protesters in US occupy streets amid virus chaos from PressTV (Iran). (My reaction: I can sympathize with the protestors who oppose the elimination of their jobs. But they need to raise their political consciousness to see that the present stage of capitalism is responsible for this dilemma, and work for efforts to establish a real socialist economy, an economy under their control and serves their interests.)
My commentary: Johnstone argues that the ultimate use of capitalism, the generator of wealth for the "owners" of productive enterprises, is secondary to power that they wish to impose over the populations that capitalist ruling class control. This is in contrast to what I have argued many times in the past that profit and power are essentially two sides of the same coin. Reading her arguments, I am reconsidering my position. She offers examples where profit is trumped by power/control, which is the essence of fascism--the end stage of capitalism.
  • "Conclusion" from "The Breaking Of The Corporate Media Monopoly" by David Edwards, a co-editor, from Media Lens. (Note: Because this is from a British website and presents arguments from British media and society, I am reproducing below the last segment ("Conclusion") from this 2017 article which I think is most critically important for American workers to read. The full post is here.)
Conclusion – The Corporate Media Monopoly Is Broken
One week before the election, the Guardian reported that ‘a new force is shaping the general election debate’:
‘Alternative news sites are run from laptops and bedrooms miles from the much-derided “Westminster bubble” and have emerged as one of the most potent forces in election news sharing, according to research conducted for the Guardian by the web analytics company Kaleida.’
These alternative articles were ‘being shared more widely online than the views of mainstream newspaper commentators’. Remarkably, ‘Nothing from the BBC, the Guardian or the Daily Mail comes close’ to the most-shared alternative media pieces. The Canary reported that it had doubled the number of visitors to its site to six million in May. A story by Evolve Politics, run by just two people, was shared 55,000 times on Facebook and was read at least 200,000 times. These websites ‘explicitly offer a counter-narrative to what they deride as the “MSM” or mainstream media’.

Indeed, the evidence is now simply overwhelming – the 100-year big business monopoly of the mass media has been broken.

It is obvious that the right-wing press – the Daily Mail, the Sun, The Times and Telegraph – play a toxic role in manipulating the public to favour elite interests. But many people are now realising that the liberal press is actually the most potent opponent of progressive change. Journalist Matt Kennard commented:

‘The Guardian didn’t get it “wrong”. It is the mouthpiece of a liberal elite that is financially endangered by a socialist program.’
In truth, the Guardian sought to destroy Corbyn long before he became Labour leader (see here and here). This means that it did not target him because he was an ineffective leader imperilling Labour. And this hostility was no aberration, not a well-intentioned mistake that they got ‘wrong’. To this day, the Guardian remains Blair’s great cheerleader, despite his awesome crimes, just as it was Hillary Clinton and Obama’s cheerleader, and just as it was Bill Clinton’s before them.

While employing a handful of compromised fig leaves, the Guardian has ruthlessly smeared anyone who has sought to challenge the status quo: Julian Assange, Russell Brand, Hugo Chavez, Noam Chomsky, Edward Herman, John Pilger, George Galloway and many others. It has also been complicit in the great war crimes of Iraq, Libya and Syria – accepting fake government justifications for war at face value, ignoring expert sources who made a nonsense of the claims, and propagandising hard for the West’s supposed ‘responsibility to protect’ the nations it so obviously seeks to destabilise and exploit.

In our view, the corporate journalists who should be treated with most caution are precisely those celebrated as ‘dissidents’. Corporate media give Owen Jones, George Monbiot, Paul Mason and others immense outreach to draw 100,000s of progressives back to a filtered, corporate version of the world that favours established power and stifles progressive change. Above all, as Jonathan Cook says, the unwritten rule is that they will not speak out on the inherent structural corruption of a corporate media system reporting on a world dominated by corporations.

This is crucial, because, as last week confirms, and as we have been arguing for 16 years, if change begins anywhere, it begins with the public challenging, exposing and rejecting, not just the right-wing press, but the corporate media as a whole, the ‘liberal-left’ very much included.

In the last month, we witnessed astonishing numbers of people challenging all media, all the time on every bias – we have never seen anything like it. The young, in particular, are learning that they do not need highly-paid, privileged corporate employees to tell them what to think.

We don’t need to tolerate a corporate-filtered view of the world. We can inform ourselves and each other, and we can do so with very much more honesty, courage and compassion than any corporate journalist. If there is one message from last week, it’s a simple one – dump the corporate media; all of it.

Thursday, April 30, 2020

Posts that I especially recommend today and some commentaries: Thursday, April 30, 2020

  • Dr. Ioannidis on Results of Coronacirus Studies from Journey Pictures via YouTube. (Note: Stanford University professor Dr. John Ioannidis reports on data from various parts of the world and their implications for coping with such a virulent virus as Covid-19.)
My comments: According to early data from this higlyly qualified source and other competent sources, Covid-19 is not more fatal than influenza. You should behave rationally to protect yourself from suffering from this virus. However, if you believe what media corporations, which have a record of spreading lies, are telling you that you should fear for your lives, then I have several fine bridges to sell you.
I am 84 years old with chronic bronchitis, and I see myself as extremely vulnerable to this virus. Thus, I am observing carefully all social distance advisories as should all people in my condition. (Edited comment for clarity of my views based on date between 4:30 PM and 6:45 PM CT.)
Next day commentary: I don't see that Valentine's thesis that the ruling class used the Phoenix Program, which they used in Vietnam, has been used to suppress dissent in the USA. Our masters have used a variety of sources to increase their control of society, but they have done this while perserving the ideology of a "democratic" society that has a number of civil liberties. The use of propaganda through the infiltration of media corporations was primarily applied in the USA and to lessor extent to the European countries of the US/Anglo/Zionist Empire. Vietnam's society was not the same as US's society. Thus, they have used a variety of means, including their experience in Vietnam, to exercise more control over dissidents in the USA. The only transfer of the Phoenix Program was the use of computers to identify dissidents, but that was perfectly logical to use updated technology to track dissidents. His observations did describe the growing militarization of US society to control dissent that have occurred over many recent decades, but again that was only logical and the roots go back to all fascist regimes. All of these methods were designed to control populations under their control to counter any threats to their capitalist system.
  • Welcome to the era of the Great Disillusionment by Jonathan Cook from his weblog. (Note: I hope that this is the "era of the Great Disillusionment", but I have doubts. We have been lied to for many decades since WWII. Media corporations lied before this, but their lying was not as systemized and consciously controlled as it is today.)
My commentary: I've spent entirely too much time on this article, and I advise you to avoid it in the interests of efficiency of your time to understand current monumental issues that confront humans. Zuesse's tremendous efforts in this article is to establish, once and for all, his social-democratic understanding of these these current issues. His views are a product of a post-war education in which social-democractic views were still fashionable on college campuses and those espousing them were amply rewarded. To hold his social-democratic views is to ignore the innumerable historical events of capitalist exploitation of workers that preceded WWII. Some of these events I have written about in my "best posts" category.
I only draw attention to this article because this perspective still exists among American intellectuals, and its influence is pernicious to say the least. To restore capitalism as it was before WWII is impossible, but that is what many American bloggers like Paul Craig Roberts, old-fashion conservatives like Pat Buchanan, and historians like Eric Zuesse want to do. If, on the other hand, you see capitalism as a system that evolves or develops over time into complete capitalist class rule (fascism), you will see social-democracy as a dead end, and work for system change.
“Recent developments in our region, particularly in Syria and Libya, have once again demonstrated the importance of upholding the Turkish-US alliance and cooperation at full strength,” Erdogan wrote.

One Turkish official, speaking anonymously, told Middle East Eye that Ankara’s calculation has been changing since its military clashed with the Syrian government in the country's Iblib province, where nearly 60 Turkish soldiers had been killed in February.
My question: Could the unpredictiable Erdogan simply be playing USA and Russia off against each other (def.) similar to the prime ministers of India?

      Wednesday, April 29, 2020

      Posts that I especially recommend today: Wednesday, April 29, 2020

      My commentary: Finally I've come across articles from this website about their concern for employees of small businesses and the owners of small businesses, but I didn't see concern for others who are ineligible of unemployment benefits, and a part of the "gig economy" or self-employed.

      Monday, April 27, 2020

      Posts that I especially recommend and commentaries for today:Monday, April 27, 2020

      • The New York Fed Is Exercising Powers Never Bestowed on It by any Law by Pam Martens and Russ Martens from their weblog Wall Street on Parade. (Although these bloggers are advocating only reforms to the capitalist system, they contribute much to enhance our understand of the powerful Federal Reserve that capitalist agents try to keep hidden.)
      • Bill Gates pretends that Event 201 never happened by Norbert Häring, a German economist, from his weblog Money and more. (Note: Be sure to click on the link "video on control of public opinion". Viewing this video, you will need to see beyond the polite delivery and nice smiles to reach the underlying attitude of managing public opinion that was necessary to pull off this project, maybe the current pandemic crisis, and future projects planned for us by the capitalist ruling class.)
      • “Artificial Intelligence Plan" That Became "Coronavirus Plan” & “China Did It” Narrative Is WMDs 2.0  (My summary: This post features a report by Whitney Webb and discussion of the report between her and  Ryan Cristián, the founder and editor of the website The Last American Vagabond. Webb's insightful comments are in the segment that runs between 7:27m to 39:10m of the more than three hours of the podcast. The remainder of the post is mostly devoted to a rant, or maybe a tirade, by Cristián about the manipulations of corporate media to get us to hate China, those who are duped by these media corporations, Donald Trump, and the recent Cares Act which is giving billions to wealthy individuals and corporations.  
      Cristián joins Jimmy Dore in being shocked and angry about all the political events which have been recently happening and have been reported for many years in left-wing alternative media. Cristián does not yet identify these perpetrators as the Deep State, instead he describes them as little more than "bad guys".) However, could he and Dore be "canaries in the coal mine" (def.) who are the forerunners of "surplus"  workers when they also wake up in the months to come? I think that the anger of these two may be an advanced warning of things to come (def.).

      Sunday, April 26, 2020

      Posts that I especially recommend and a commentary for today:Sunday, April 26, 2020

      • Dr. Erickson Covid-19 Briefing. Edward Curtin, a sociologist, posts on his weblog Behind the Curtain a discussion by two experienced medical doctors with extensive backgrounds in microbiology. (Note: They review the results of testing that is now becoming available from all parts of the world. The two medical specialists conclude, based on the data, is that we should start opening many venues that allow people to be exposed to this new virus in order to strengthen their immune systems. They also reveal pressure from government agencies to record the cause of many deaths due to coronavirus which tends to skew the data. This is a must-watch video.) (4/29/2020 update: Sorry, but this video was taken off of YouTube. Our masters decided that you might get the "wrong" ideas of the current methods of controlling COVID-19. You see, the immunologists argued, with considerable data, different views about sheltering in place, wearing masks, etc. as effective means of controlling the virus. See this for further details.)(4/30/2020 update: now I see that it has been downloaded and restored to the internet by Bitchute.)
      • Coronavirus, fictitious capital and financial crisis by Sankha Subhra Biswas from CADTM (Committee for the Abolition of Illegitimate Debt). (Note: This post regarding the economy of India is for those who have extensive knowledge of investments and finance.)
      My commentary: While the covid-19 panademic is raging across the Earth, the Deep State that governs their Empire continues with their assault on little countries like Iraq. They use their money-power to play off Sunnis and Kurds against the Shiites who are the majority. Money, under capitalism, is the medium of all security, and the poor country of Iraq is very susceptible to its power. 
      Of course, here in the center of the Empire, we Americans are not interested in their problems because we think that they are unrelated to our problems. Nothing could be further from the truth. 
      You see, the capitalist rullng class does the same thing here in America as they do throughout the world. They play off one group against another by playing, one class against another through the use of their money-power. However, they have one additional power: they "own" media corporations which control our perceptions about reality, and they control every other institution by bribing the upper middle class with lucrative careers and perks. Thus, they control our minds using the power of money most of which they have managed to consolidate in their hands. 
      Like in the game of Monoply in which the winner drives all others into bankruptcy, this is the logic of capitalism being played out in nature. Despite all the efforts of our "rescuers" like Lenin, Rosa Luxemborg, Che Guevara, etc., it looks to me like the capitalist ruling classes will win this "game". However, these masters in their arrogance have failed to notice that they, too, are in the web of life and must submit to the more powerful laws of nature. Because this tiny group of capitalist rulers have managed in their obsessive quest for power to destroy the habitat which supports all life that has existed on our unique planet Earth, the rest of humanity together with nearly all other species will perish with them. This is the ultimate tragedy.