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

Thursday, April 27, 2017

Why Scientists Marched

Click here to access article by Jill Richardson from Other Words

Because capitalism serves only a tiny class of people, this organization of the economy is increasingly at odds with the vast majority of people. Among the many other problems it is causing for the latter, it is currently threatening to destabilize the climate to the point where conditions on our Earth no longer will sustain human life. Trump has played the capitalist game and is one of this tiny class that owns most everything of value and together with his fellow capitalists essentially "owns" the government. 

Because they depend upon the vast majority to keep capitalism afloat, his actions (like theirs) very often are in conflict with his words. The management of thought is now the highest priority among this ruling class to keep their system functioning. However because of his personal history exclusively as a real estate tycoon, he is not sophisticated in the arts of lying and deception like Obama and former presidents were. Along with Trump's mental health, this is something that is a major worry for his fellow capitalists. And, scientists especially are concerned because they know that Trump, while maximizing profits for his class, is also destroying the future for humans. As Richardson explains:
He put Myron Ebell — described by Business Insider as “a man who denies basic science” — in charge of his Environmental Protection Agency transition team. Ebell’s qualifications? He worked at an ideological libertarian think tank. He has no science background.
This administration also rejected the recommendations of government scientists and chose to allow farmers to continue using a toxic pesticide known to harm children.

Meanwhile Trump is trying to cut scores of science programs, many of them related to Earth science and climate science.

These cuts won’t just harm conservation, regulation, and other goals Trump doesn’t like but are necessary if we want to continue living on a hospitable planet.

Tribunal finds Monsanto an abuser of human rights and environment

Click here to access article by Pete Dolack from his blog Systemic Disorder.

Although there have been many discussions and proposals about an international court since WWI, it was only after WWII and the International Military Tribunal that tried Nazi war criminals that there was a strong push to set up similar international courts. Due to the Cold War and the lack of support by major countries, only tribunals have succeeded in being established. The only two I am familiar with are the International Court of Justice (ICJ) established in 1946 and a branch of the United Nations and the International Criminal Court (ICC) that was established by the Treaty of Rome in 1998 by many nations and became active in 2002. Both are located in The Hague, a city on the south coast of Holland. 

(Incidentally, Nicaragua in 1986 brought a case against USA in the ICJ for various war crimes, and the court essentially found the US guilty: "The very long judgment first listed 291 points, among them that the United States had been involved in the 'unlawful use of force'.") 

On April 18th the ICC found Monsanto guilty of violating internationally recognized human rights.
The tribunal, consisting of five international judges, has found Monsanto guilty. The tribunal is not a court of law and it has no power to enforce any judgment. The decision is a moral one, albeit grounded, the tribunal says, in international human rights and humanitarian law.
Dolack concludes correctly that capitalism is in contradiction to human rights because its priority is maximization of profit, and in order to survive corporations must continue to grow.
That concept of human rights, however, is in conflict with the mandates of capitalism — including the relentless competitive pressures that make “grow or die” an imperative. The domination of markets by a small number of behemoths is the inevitable product of that ceaseless competition, behemoths that by virtue of their immense size and command of capital can and do exert dominance over government and civil society.

Wednesday, April 26, 2017

The Not-So-Grand Strategy Behind America’s Warring Around

Click here to access article by F. William Engdahl from New Eastern Outlook

Engdahl offers his framework about the long-range project of Anglo-American capitalists into which he sees the zigs and zags of recent foreign policy tactics of the Trump administration continuing. Like other informed commentators, he sees a very dangerous world ahead.
It’s getting pretty crazy, the warring around of Washington since the Trump Project took office January 20. The question is whether there is a true strategy behind the dramatic escalation of Trump Administration military aggression around the world. There definitely is in my view, and it’s not good for world peace, not good for the United States and the rest of the world.

America’s Rich Get Richer and the Poor Get Replaced by Robots

Click here to access article by Vincent Del Giudice and Wei Lu from Bloomberg News.

The technology that was created by workers has led to replacing other workers with robots. This is another illustration of how under the rules and logical dynamics of capitalism are leading to the concentration of wealth and power for a tiny ruling class who rule the US-led Empire and is hell-bent on ruling the world. 

Instead of liberating humans from repetitive drudgery and working long hours, technological advancements could be used to free them to pursue education and preparing them to govern societies for their benefit. However under capitalist governance it's clear that the technological creations of workers are being used to put them in ever deeper poverty, ignorance, and hopelessness.

‘Mad Dog’ Mattis Going Rabid

Click here to access article by Eric Zuesse from Strategic Culture Foundation.
Trump is taking over where Obama left off.

Russian Television reported (and U.S. ‘news’ media refused to report) U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, on April 6th, two days after the alleged sarin attack, as essentially demanding Putin’s capitulation, regarding the Syrian war:
"'It is very important that the Russian government consider carefully their support for Bashar al-Assad.’ Tillerson added. Asked if the US will lead a regime change effort in Syria, Tillerson said that 'those steps are underway.'"

Russians got the message, even if Americans did not. In other words, they know that the Trump Administration is continuing what had originally been the Obama Administration’s objective, prior to Russia’s entry into the war on Assad’s side on 30 September 2015: regime-change in Syria. The Trump Administration is apparently willing to go to war against Russia in order to remove Assad and replace him with a leader who is supported by the U.S., Sauds, and America’s other allies in the war to replace Syria’s existing government.
It’s not only Mattis who is «rabid». So is his President, Trump; and, if the even more rabid H.R. McMaster gets his way, so too will be the entire world.

Pleasing America’s «military-industrial complex» is hard to do, but Trump’s Administration is trying hard to out-do its predecessors, at that task.
It appears that Trump, in order to stay in power, has succumbed to the pressure of the neoconservative war hawks. If he succeeds in pleasing them, I see two consequences: 1) Trump will start receiving favorable treatment in corporate media, and 2) we can kiss our asses goodbye.

Climate Evangelists Are Taking Over Your Local Weather Forecast: Sunny with a scientific certainty of climate change

Click here to access article by Eric Roston from Bloomberg News

Although the editors of Bloomberg News while identifying corporate news meteorologists as "climate evangelists" managed to suggest in a deprecating way to not take them seriously, the content of Roston's article shows that they are serving as an effective subversive influence in corporate media to act against Trump's denial of global warming and the findings of climate scientists. However, the ruling class's concern is not the deleterious effects that this will have on humans, rather their concern is informed by a worry about continuing economic growth which is required for a capitalist economy as is illustrated in the following 2:38m video:

Brave new world of America today

by cartoonist Brian McFadden

You have to be brave to live in it.

Tuesday, April 25, 2017

America is trying to block the path of the “Shiite crescent” from Syria and is preparing the ground for a “new Middle East”.

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

If my memory serves me correctly, Magnier is a Kuwaiti analyst of Middle East military and political events. He has also earned the respect of one of America's foremost independent political bloggers at Moon of Alabama (Bernhard) who wrote on one of his posts referring to Magnier: "As he is one of the most knowledgeable experts on the war in Syria and Iraq his thoughts deserve a wider discussion."


The main point that I am trying to convince my readers is that this post of Magnier's and a prior post of mine entitled "Three Green Berets killed by ISIS infiltrator after CIA ignored warnings" (sourced from a website operated by veterans of Special Operations) offers more evidence that the US is training, funding, organizing, and weaponizing terrorist armies in Syria. (That is, if you had any doubts!)

The numerous terrorist armies have been assigned various names--probably to add more confusion to foreigners trying to figure out what is happening in Syria (also their attempt to separate terrorist armies from rebel armies)--have been recruited among Sunnis that had supported President Sadam Hussein and experienced torture at Abu Ghraib operated by the US military in Iraq, from the jails of Saudi Arabia, and dissidents from a variety of other Muslim countries in the Middle East. They have been trained and issued weapons by Saudi Arabia (and other affiliated Gulf feudal kingdoms, the US, and Turkey; and launched from Turkey, western Iraq, and Jordan to destabilize Syria. They have also been supported militarily and medically by Israel. Each of these players continue to have their own reasons for regime change in Syria.

Notice on this map that Sweida is, as Magnier wrote, near the Jordanian border, and Abu Kamal is in eastern Syria which lends support to his argument:
The United States has provided the necessary weapons for these rebel forces – the intensity of the usage of the anti-tank and anti-personnel TOWs laser guided missile is the best indicator. If these forces reach alBu [sic] Kamal (about 700 km from Suwayda), they would stop any possible intervention of Iraqi forces in Syria, under the pretext of hunting down ISIS to prevent their return to Iraq. In fact, this plan is not innocently aiming to disrupt the ISIS connection between Syria and Iraq, but to put an end to the “Shiite crescent”.

This “Shiite crescent” that the Sunni Gulf countries fear – not feared by the United States because it doesn’t represent any threat to the US security – is connecting Tehran, Baghdad, Damascus and Beirut.

How Come Central Asian States have Become a Breading [sic] Ground for Terrorism

Click here to access article by Jean Perier from New Eastern Outlook. (All I was able to find about the author was this note from The News Doctor's website: "Jean Périer is an independent researcher and analyst and a renowned expert on the Near and Middle East, exclusively for the online magazine “New Eastern Outlook”. He is likely French and his use of English is rather awkward if not in error in some places. Also "CIS" means Commonwealth of Independent States.)

The author provides a very good understanding of why so many people from mostly Muslim countries are so easily recruited into terrorist armies.
Large criminal groups or other marginal social groups that are turning individuals into would-be-terrorists if they are to be approached by radical recruiters. However, at the heart of any criminal activities lies the economic situation that a state has found itself into. Countries with weak economies and high unemployment rates are virtually pushing the lowest strata of the population into getting engaged in offensive activities. That is where extremist recruiters come in, offering both significant financial benefits to those willing to take the risk of becoming a terrorist and the long-time occupation to all sorts of marginals. If there’s no financing, there’s no terrorism. [my emphasis]
The low cultural level of the marginals that are usually getting recruited by terrorist groups usually can be easily transformed into the fanatical devotions to the ideas of radicalism, that exists with the sole purpose of reducing the costs of needed to stage a terrorist act.

Top 4 Worst pieces of Climate News from WMO in Age of Trump

Click here to access article by Juan Cole from his blog Informed Comment
The World Meteorological Organization of the United Nations issued its annual report on the climate on Tuesday, making a full and final assessment of 2016.

It was not good news.

It was big news, but it wasn’t good news. Also, surprise, it wasn’t reported on most television “news,” otherwise known as babysitting for adults.
 

Too rich (and powerful) to care

by political cartoonist Dwayne Booth (AKA "Mr. Fish").

Monday, April 24, 2017

Donald Trump Has Been Played Like a Violin

Click here to access article by David William Pear from OpEdNews
Trumps critics are so numerous, unrelenting and persistent that like a cornered rat, Trump lost any sanity that he may have possessed and instead of lashing out at his tormentors, he lashed out at Syria's president Bashar al-Assad. Just like a drunk that comes home and beats his wife, terrorize his children, busts up the furniture and kicks the dog it accomplished nothing but chaos, but it feels so good to blow off some steam, even if it is at the wrong target.

Now Trump has a lot of damage to repair and it will take more than a night in the drunk tank to patch up the mess he has made. It is probably beyond redemption. Worse is that like an alcoholic there is no cure for someone drunk with power. Predictably Trump will continue with his unpredictable binges on which he prides himself. The world will now be walking on eggshells waiting for Trumps next irrational outburst.

Trump is not the only insane actor.
Judging by Trump's actions after only three months in office, I think that Pear has Trump figured out. If we ordinary Americans, and many others around world, survive the next four years reasonably intact, it will be a miracle. The latest evidence to support this view of Trump's administration is this 17:03m YouTube video essay (starting at 1:20m after a promotional message) entitled "McMaster of War" constructed by Kurt Nimmo and posted on Newsbud. Rabid neoconservatives are now in control of the US and its Empire. 

As long as they can control Trump, their latest useful idiot, this remains true; but even if they get rid of Trump, they will place another useful idiot in charge. Rabid capitalist hawks in the directorate of the US Empire are the puppeteers who now conduct this show of horrors.

Google now threatening Alt-News web-sites

Click here to access article by Eric Zuesse from OffGuardian
I used to be published at places such as Huffington Post, Salon, and Common Dreams, but the number of sites that are willing to publish me has gradually reduced as more and more of my articles came to expose the operations that control the U.S. federal government. None of those publishers explained to me why they were dropping me. But now I understand. And Google isn’t alone in this; they’re part of the same operation that has taken over the U.S. and many foreign ‘news’ operations and thus now controls what the publics believe, in many countries.

Sunday, April 23, 2017

'The Kurds': Internationalists or Narrow Nationalists?

Click here to access article by Marcel Cartier (see also this and this) from TeleSur.

This article is an excellent followup of another article (by the same author) which I posted on the 14th of April with my commentary (please read my commentary if you are not familiar with it). In that article I discussed my confusion about the goals of the Syrian Kurds (based in Rojava, Syria and referred to by various names (Kurdish Freedom Movement or KCK,  Democratic Union Party or PYD, the Kurdish People's Protection Units or YPG). They are oriented around the ideas promoted by Abdullah Ocalan who, in turn, has been strongly influenced by the libertarian socialist ideology of American Murray Bookchin.

In this current article Cartier does not deal with the confusion that I mentioned in my commentary to my earlier post regarding US military installations on territory under the control of Syrian Kurds, however he declares from a visit to the region and interviews with many Syrian Kurds that their orientation differs radically from Iraqi Kurds led by Masoud Barzani who has managed with the help of the US to carve out a mostly independent region in northern Iraq. Cartier declares that the Syrian Kurds have no intention of playing along with the plans by the Empire and associates to dismember Syria.

From viewing the second video (produced by "Films for Action") of the three included in the article, you will learn that Turkey's policies under Erdogan are actively supporting ISIS to carry out his obsessive concern to suppress any kind of Kurdish independence. This corroborates the many articles I posted several years ago that documented Turkey's support for the ISIS terrorists and their collaboration with NATO, Saudi Arabia (and their feudal Arab allies), and Israel to dismember Syria. As you can see, there is an complex stew of motives of the various actors participating in the project to dismember Syria arrayed against the forces of the Syrian government, Russia, Iran, and Hezbollah.

Saturday, April 22, 2017

Earth Day then vs. now: Capitalism is still killing us

Click here to access article by the staff at Liberation
As our banner says “Climate change is the symptom, capitalism is the disease and socialism is the cure.” The inherent need for capitalism to constantly seek new markets and expand production and profits is at its core in complete contradiction to a sustainable world. Corporations’ primary concern is to increase their quarterly returns and please shareholders. Any move toward greening their business is often solely for PR purposes and if the “greening” costs more than it gains, it won’t last.

From Earth Day to the Monsanto Tribunal, Capitalism on Trial

Click here to access article by Colin Todhunter from East by Northwest

This British independent blogger has lived in India for a significant number of years, and saw first hand the destructive influence of large corporations on Indian farmers, farming, and Indian food. In this article commemorating Earth Day, he sums up what he has learned from this experience.
Monsanto and other powerful corporations can only operate as they do because of a framework designed to allow them to capture governments and regulatory bodies, to use the WTO and bilateral trade deals to lever global influence, to profit on the back of US militarism (Iraq) and destabilisations (Ukraine), to exert undue influence over science and politics and to rake in enormous profits.

The World Bank’s ‘Enabling the Business of Agriculture’ and its ongoing commitment to a wholly corrupt and rigged model of globalisation is a further recipe for plunder, corruption and the concentration of power and wealth in the hands of the few.

Donald Trump: Ruling Class President

Click here to access article by Paul Street from CounterPunch.

Street writes about the fake democracy after an election which saw probably the worst choices ever offered to Americans for president of the USA. Both pretended to be for ordinary Americans, but one promised peace and prosperity at home while the other promoted wars abroad to the "evil-doers" du jour (Russia, Putin, Assad, Iran, & North Korean leaders). 

Elections are always touted to be the hallmark of democracy by our ruling class pundits--unless, of course, the outcomes, most especially in other countries, do not suit their interests of profit and power. Then they are deemed corrupt. Street shines his light through this dense fog of indoctrination to see the obscene nakedness of our capitalist fake version of democracy. He offers many pearls of wisdom to illustrate the different aspect of this fakery. We people under the control of the transnational capitalist class that governs the US-led Empire are not only subject to fake facts, fake news, and fake history, but also fake democracy.

RASHIDEEN MASSACRE: Children Lured to their Slaughter by NATO State Terrorists

Click here to access article by Vanessa Beeley from 21st Century Wire
On April 15th 2017, the people of Kafarya and Foua were attacked, their children mown down deliberately, by a suicide bomb or expolosive detonation, that targeted these innocent children who had been lured to their deaths by NATO and Gulf state terrorists, including Ahrar al Sham and Nusra Front (Al Qaeda). [my link]
This British woman who describes herself as an independent researcher, writer and photographer reports on the details of the horrific massacre of 200 civilians, including 116 children. The terrorist armies, two of which committed this crime, are sponsored, organized, supported, and trained by the US-led Empire, Turkey, Israel, and their associated medieval kingdoms of Saudi Arabia, etc, all of which have their own reasons for bringing down the Syrian government.

As far as I know the first terrorist army, the "Contras", was organized in Honduras by government agents of the US to terrorize the people of nearby Nicaragua because they had the temerity of electing a government which pursued independent policies which tried to serve the needs of their people and not corporations. In 1982 on a visit I saw first hand the destruction they wrecked on schools, clinics, and cooperatives organized by the Nicaraguan Sandinista government. After years of terrorist attacks by the Contras, the Nicaraguan people capitulated in the 1990 election which saw the election of people more acceptable to the US's ruling class. From Wikipedia:
After the U.S. Congress prohibited federal funding of the contras in 1983, the Reagan administration nonetheless illegally continued to back them by covertly selling arms to Iran and channeling the proceeds to the contras (the Iran–Contra affair), for which several members of the Reagan administration were convicted of felonies. The International Court of Justice, in regard to the case of Nicaragua v. United States in 1984, found, "the United States of America was under an obligation to make reparation to the Republic of Nicaragua for all injury caused to Nicaragua by certain breaches of obligations under customary international law and treaty-law committed by the United States of America". During the war between the contras and the Sandinistas, 30,000 people were killed.
In the Nicaraguan general election, 1990, a coalition of anti-Sandinista parties (from the left and right of the political spectrum) led by Violeta Chamorro, the widow of Pedro Joaquín Chamorro Cardenal, defeated the Sandinistas. The defeat shocked the Sandinistas, who had expected to win. Commentators such as Noam Chomsky and Brian Willson attributed the outcome to the U.S.-contra threats to continue the war if the Sandinistas retained power, the general war-weariness of the Nicaraguan population, and the abysmal Nicaraguan economic situation.
Ruling class agents of the US learned the usefulness of such terrorist armies from this experience and together with their allies in the Mid-East are using various terrorist armies to bring down the Syrian government because they too do not serve the needs of the Empire and their collaborators in crime. Similar terrorist armies have been used by Empire agents in Afghanistan, Libya, and elsewhere to a lessor extent to overturn intimidate governments and breakup nations. 

Friday, April 21, 2017

A three-track strategy for climate mitigation

Click here to access article by Graeme Taylor from Climate Code Red (Australia). (This a shortened version of a scholarly, full-referenced article. Dr. Taylor is an adjunct professor associated with Griffith University, Nathan, Australia.)

This is posted on a leading worldwide environmental website that is based in Australia. The post illustrates how some environmentalists, preoccupied by climate destabilization as a threat to humans, recognize that capitalism is driving us to extinction, but refuse to name the system.

Thus the author recognizes the scale of the concern with passages like this;
There is an enormous (and currently unbridgeable) lag between the pace of political, economic and technological change and the rapid (non-negotiable) rate of climate change.

To ensure safe outcomes the global economy will have to be rapidly restructured. This will require a massive response similar in scale and urgency to the Allied effort in World War II. However, at this time strong international action is a distant dream.

Most experts assume that even under the most optimistic scenarios aggregate emissions will increase until mid-century, pushing global temperatures far past international goals. The hope is that this overshoot will be corrected over time with as yet undeveloped technologies for carbon capture and storage.
I think they do this out of fear for their careers especially private industry and government, with this caution maybe less so compelling in academia. Although you will find numerous circumlocutions like consumerism and "political and economic frameworks", you will not find a single reference to capitalism. This in itself is a manifestation of the power of capitalists to control discourse on a subject which casts even doubts about the system, much less that it must be removed and replaced with a sustainable system to prevent cataclysmic climate destabilization.

The Communist Village in Spain

Produced by TeleSur from their website.

A small village in Spain recognized that change was needed in order for them to survive, and they did something about it. But they also recognized the necessity for the creation of a wider system change. (Note: 1200 hectares equals nearly 3000 acres.) So, are you going to take part in the creation of a new system, or remain passive; and by doing so, actually support the existing system of capitalism?


Neofascism in the White House

Click here to access article by John Bellamy Foster from Monthly Review

Foster starts out this lengthy read published in the hard copy of Monthly Review by assessing the citizens that voted for Trump and his continuing base of support (which according to polls is declining). I skipped this section and focused on the seventh paragraph down to the subheading "The Trumpist Gleichschaltung". In this section of his paper Foster concentrates on the close relationship between capitalism and fascism that is missing from most of the current articles regarding the re-appearance of fascism in the current period. 
Here it is vital to understand that fascism is not in any sense a mere political aberration or anomaly, but has historically been one of two major modes of political management adopted by ruling classes in the advanced capitalist states.17 Since the late nineteenth century, capitalist states, particularly those of the major imperial powers, have generally taken the form of liberal democracy—representing a kind of equilibrium between competing social sectors and tendencies, in which the capitalist class, by virtue of its control of the economy, and despite the relative autonomy accorded to the state, is able to assert its hegemony. Far from being democratic in any egalitarian sense, liberal democracy has allowed considerable room for the rise of plutocracy, i.e., the rule of the rich; but it has at the same time been limited by democratic forms and rights that represent concessions to the larger population.18 Indeed, while remaining within the boundaries of liberal democracy, the neoliberal era since the 1980s has been associated with the steepest increases in inequality in recorded history.

Liberal democracy is not, however, the only viable form of rule in advanced capitalist states. In periods of systemic crisis in which property relations are threatened—such as the Great Depression of the 1930s, or the stagnation and financialization of recent decades—conditions may favor the rise of fascism. Moreover, then as now, fascism is invariably a product of the larger context of monopoly capital and imperialism, related to struggles for hegemony within the capitalist world economy. Such a crisis of world hegemony, real or perceived, fosters ultra-nationalism, racism, xenophobia, extreme protectionism, and hyper-militarism, generating repression at home and geopolitical struggle abroad. Liberal democracy, the rule of law, and the very existence of a viable political opposition may be endangered.
The "liberal" in the phrase "liberal democracy" (or the capitalist form of democracy) is the classical meaning of liberal, and must be distinguished from the current popular meaning that is defined by the concept of "social liberalism" which (like social democracy) presumes the existence of capitalism. 

Fosters continues on in the article to distinguish between the classical form of fascism that existed in the 1930s with the neofascism of today, and more specifically the fascist features of the Trump administration. 

Sanders begins nationwide tour to promote Democratic Party

Click here to access article by Genevieve Leigh from World Socialist Web Site.

Bernie Sanders is continuing his role as sheepherder to guide discontented American sheeple away from any ideas that threaten the capitalist Empire and the transnational ruling class that supports it. 
The divisions that exist within the Democratic Party between the “Obama-Clinton wing” and the “Sanders-Warren wing” are over tactics, not principle. They all serve to uphold the political domination of the capitalist two-party system.

This has been proven in the trajectory of Sanders’ political career over the last two years. The senator from Vermont, by calling himself a socialist, demanding a “political revolution” and attacking the billionaire class, tapped into the enormous amount of discontent in the working class and was able to win 13 million votes in the primary. In this he was aided by a wide array of upper-middle-class organizations that orbit around the Democratic Party.

What happened to Sanders’ “political revolution”?