We’ve lived so long under the spell of hierarchy—from god-kings to feudal lords to party bosses—that only recently have we awakened to see not only that “regular” citizens have the capacity for self-governance, but that without their engagement our huge global crises cannot be addressed. The changes needed for human society simply to survive, let alone thrive, are so profound that the only way we will move toward them is if we ourselves, regular citizens, feel meaningful ownership of solutions through direct engagement. Our problems are too big, interrelated, and pervasive to yield to directives from on high.
—Frances Moore LappĂ©, excerpt from Time for Progressives to Grow Up

Tuesday, October 17, 2017

Understanding the ‘Fake News’ Hysteria

Click here to access article by David P. Hamilton from ConsortiumNews
For the most part, “fake news” is a fake concept designed by the corporate news media to discredit those who challenge the official U.S. hegemonic narrative. The typical MSM fake news accusation starts with some egregious fictionalization and then morphs over to the real targets: the subversives, those who would dispute foundational elements of the official history or its recent approved updates.

These subversive elements are likely to question important myths, such as the necessity of the nuclear incineration of Hiroshima or – before the Iraq War – Saddam Hussein possessing WMD, and hence must be silenced.
I strive daily to be one of those "subversives".

Syria, Iraq - Why The Kurdish Independence Project Died

Click here to access article by Bernhard from his blog Moon of Alabama. (Addendum at 12:25 PM Seattle time.)
Over the last decades, and especially since the (foreign induced) Salafi insurrection weakened the states of Syria and Iraq, the Kurds had made huge territorial and political gains. But they became overly greedy and did not see that these gains were not sustainable. Iraq and Syria reasserted themselves. The "western" allies of the Kurds rediscovered that their strategic interests are best served by intact nation states.
I don't know where Bernhard gets all of his information regarding the Kurds, but so far the "facts on the ground" support his views, and such views make a lot of sense to me. It will be very interesting if future events support his interpretation of events at the current stage. One thing that I am reasonably certain is that the terrorists remaining in ISIS will be saved by the Empire and its vassals for another day elsewhere in the world. Terrorist proxies have been far too useful to them to dispose of such battle-hardened armies now. Already they appear to be showing up in the Philippines and Myanmar (Burma). 

Also, if his views of events are accurate, this situation marks a tremendous setback to the plans of the Empire and associates (Israel and Saudi Arabia) in that region, and this is likely to have a major impact on the ruling classes in the Empire which I can't imagine will be to the good. Some people think that a war with Iran looks likely (see this, this, and this), others imagine in Ukraine. In either or both, nuclear weapons are quite likely to be used.

[Russian Revolution, part 9 of ?] October 1917: an echo from the future

Click here to access article by Sally Campbell from Socialist Review (Britain). 
...attempts to reform it [capitalism] through parliaments haven’t worked. In the past century a whole number of left wing governments have been elected in various places, and while many have been able to temporarily ameliorate some of its worst effects, none has been able to legislate away the basic, brutal truth of capitalism: that it is a system based upon the exploitation of the vast majority by the extreme minority who own and control the means of creating wealth.

The Russian Revolution, and specifically the October Revolution, confronted this truth head-on, and for a period it showed how it might be possible to run society differently.

This did not come from the heads of Lenin and the Bolsheviks bestowing their knowledge upon the masses; rather it came from an intense period of workers’ self-activity. This self-activity didn’t only extend to the workplace — it also tackled forms of oppression and political grievances which had shackled Russian workers and peasants for decades.

Monday, October 16, 2017

How A Secretive Network Built Around a Nobel Prizewinner Set Out To Curtail Our Freedoms

Click here to access article by George Monbiot from TruePublica (Britain). 
The history professor’s work on the subject began by accident. In 2013 she stumbled across a deserted clapboard house on the campus of George Mason University in Virginia. It was stuffed with the unsorted archives of a man who had died that year, whose name is probably unfamiliar to you: James McGill Buchanan. She writes that the first thing she picked up was a stack of confidential letters concerning millions of dollars transferred to the university by the billionaire Charles Koch.

Her discoveries in that house of horrors reveal how Buchanan, in collaboration with business tycoons and the institutes they founded, developed a hidden programme for suppressing democracy on behalf of the very rich. The programme is now reshaping politics, and not just in the US.
James McGill Buchanan is an excellent example of contemporary America's "house nigger" as described by Malcolm X. He is an upper-middle class academic who loyally served plantation owners like Charles Koch. Unlike intellectuals such as historian Alfred W. McCoy and America's informal theologian Chris Hedges who serve the ruling capitalist class by managing dissent within safe limits, Buchanan went whole-hog (def.) in collaborating with the ruling class to consolidate and extend their power. Because of his loyalty and performance, he was amply rewarded. 

But doesn't Monbiot also serve to manage dissent when he writes the following reassuring statement as a conclusion?
Complete freedom for billionaires means poverty, insecurity, pollution and collapsing public services for everyone else. Because we will not vote for this, it can be delivered only through deception and authoritarian control. The choice we face is between unfettered capitalism and democracy. You cannot have both.

Buchanan’s programme amounts to a prescription for totalitarian capitalism. And his disciples have only begun to implement it. But at least, thanks to Maclean’s discoveries, we can now apprehend the agenda. One of the first rules of politics is know your enemy. We’re getting there.
Thus he tells us that we must strive to do a better job of regulating capitalists, and that our "democratic" institutions are still viable and able to do this job. (In the words of a 1911 activist) if that isn't pie-in-the-sky optimism, I don't know what is.

2 or 3 Things I Know About Capitalism [a "best post"]

Click here to access article by Phil Rockstroh form The Greanville Post.

Reading an article by Rockstroh, a leading American wordsmith, takes a little more time and effort, but I think you will agree that it is often worth it. 

This article of his was prompted by a NY Times piece entitled "“Why Are More American Teenagers Than Ever Suffering From Severe Anxiety?”, and he attempts to answer the question. He concludes his article with this insightful remark:
Due to the reality that capitalism, on both an individual and collective basis, drives individuals into madness, all as the system destroys forest and field, ocean and sea and the soulscape of all who live under its rapacious dominion, our plight comes down to this: We either struggle and strive, by and any and all means, to end the system — or it will end us.
Rockstroh's article instantly recalled my early morning experience listening to NPR's Morning Addition through the fog of awakening to my radio-alarm. It's amazing what one can learn listening to NPR! This morning I learned that not only American teenagers are going crazy but adults as well. But NPR's directors would not leave their listeners to suffer because they assured us that there were apps (def.) to cure this. And if that didn't work for you, they immediately followed with another segment to report that American entrepreneurs had devised other cures such as "floating away your anxiety and stress" for as little as $50 a float! (sarcasm)

How Netanyahu Pulls Trump’s Strings

Click here to access article by Robert Parry from ConsortiumNews.
In the final presidential debate of 2016, Hillary Clinton famously called Donald Trump the “puppet” of Russian President Vladimir Putin. But what’s increasingly clear is that Trump has a more typical puppet master for a U.S. politician – Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.
I would put a rather different take on the source of Trump's policies and actions. Although a bit crude in his actions and not skilled at public relations, I view him as an otherwise consummate capitalist in that he is thoroughly addicted to the drugs of profit and power. This addiction drives his sociopathic personality to seek alliances with wealth/power figures who are richly ensconced throughout the capitalist power structure. I am referring to the powerful and rich Ziocons and even mafia types who seem to thrive in the US Empire. 

10:15 AM Seattle time--Addendum, a quote by Phil Rockstroh:  
When life is negotiated within a collective value system that devalues and deadens the individual’s inner life thus warps every human transaction, anomie descends, the worst among a people ascend to positions of power. 

Iraq - The End Of The Kurdish Independence Project

Click here to access article by Bernhard from Moon of Alabama. (Updated at 9:40 PM Seattle time.)

This report seems too good to be true. I will await other reports before I believe it. (Here is the first confirmation from a key Empire propaganda source.)
The dreams of an independent Kurdistan in Iraq have just been buried again. Masoud Barzani's position has been weakened significantly. This huge blunder might cost him his head. The Iraqi Prime Minister Abadi has gained in standing and is now in position to win next years election.

These events will also have consequences for the Kurdish position in Syria. They demonstrate that they can not hope for continued U.S. support and will have to reconcile with the Syrian government. The idea of some autonomous or even independent Kurdish entity in Syria is, as of today, also dead.

[Weekly series of the Russian Revolution of 1917] October 16-22: Trotsky leads Bolsheviks out of Pre-Parliament

Click here to access article from World Socialist Web Site. (I am continuing to post a weekly summary of activities during the Russian Revolution of 1917 in addition to articles by historians and other informed people of that great event. You may be interested to read my introduction to both series if you have not already done so.)
As the Bolshevik party leadership continues to hotly debate Lenin’s calls for an armed insurrection, Lenin forcefully continues his campaign to orient the party toward the seizure of power. He writes a number of letters to different Bolshevik delegations and party committees, in this way circumventing the Central Committee and reaching toward the working class. 

Saturday, October 14, 2017

"Calm before the storm" remark

by cartoonist Steve Sack from the [Minneapolis] Star Tribune.

Trump’s Media Furore... US Democracy On Thin Ice

Click here to access article by Finian Cunningham from Strategic Culture Foundation.
The irony is, however, that the attack on American democratic rights has already been underway before Trump entered the White House, and without much protest from the same media outlets who are now railing against Trump over this rants. We can point to the increasing surveillance powers of federal intelligence agencies which have steadily encroached since the September 2001 terror incidents in New York and Washington DC.

Media freedom in the US has been under assault for a long time.

Trump’s latest outburst is not a one-off anomaly.
The US capitalist's version of "democracy" is indeed on thin ice as numerous reports are showing up in both mainstream and alternative media, both the right and left of the political spectrum, that suggest the orange "moron" may not be our head of state much longer. (See also this, this, this, this, and this.)  It is becoming serious when even his close friends, the Israelis, are expressing concern.

So, what's an advanced capitalist ruling class to do when it wants to get rid of a president? Well, we saw how it was done with Kennedy. Although he refused to take orders from the Deep State that rules the US, he was very popular. But Trump is merely acting like a clown; on the other hand, he is quite a useful clown for the capitalist Deep State. A coup would put US "democracy" on a par with Latin American banana republics. Impeachment process might take too long, and it represents only a first step in getting rid of him. Appearances are everything to our masters who find the myth of "democratic" rule so useful in preventing Americans from seeing the darker reality. So, stay tuned to corporate media to find out how our masters resolve this dilemma. If Trump weren't so dangerous as CEO of the US, this "show" that is broadcast every day on TV would be very entertaining.

Thursday, October 12, 2017

Why U.S. and Saudi Arabia back Rohingya in Myanmar

Click here to access article by Sara Flounders from Workers World

Flounders with this article accomplishes an excellent example of investigative reporting.

She argues that the US and Saudi agents are supporting terrorist groups that have infiltrated the Rohingya. (Later she lists the sources that support her argument. The latter reports, of course, find very little coverage in corporate media.) While US officials have been hypocritically "beating the drums" (def.) on behalf of the Rohingya and corporate media is doing likewise, the result is...
Demonstrations, protests and online petitions have appeared worldwide to defend the struggle of the Rohingya people who have been driven from Myanmar into exile.
The obvious conclusion, which she reaches, is that these carefully engineered events and corporate media reports are crafted by the US-led Empire's directors in order to contain China's influence in the region.

I would like to suggest a larger hypothesis that shapes nearly all widespread coverage by media corporations: Media corporations overwhelmingly exist to promote the profit and power interests of their owners who are major capitalists. Therefore it follows that if you are going to following Western corporate media reports, you will be exposed to what they want you to believe about world events that affect their interests. In other words, you will be treated as a dupe.

The US-led Empire and its ruling capitalist classes are in a desperate struggle right now to wrest control away from other nations so that they can cover their increasing debts (around the massive figure of $20 trillion dollars for the US alone) with their increasing control over the world's labor and consumer markets and access to cheap resources by their corporations. If they fail at world domination, they fail their investors who constitute the ruling class of the Empire and will likely end their opportunities to cover government debts that are owed to themselves. The obvious problem is that they are hell-bent on stirring up conflicts like the one in Myanmar (Burma) and never-ending wars all over the world with devastating results for people like you and me.

Unless you are one of these investors, you have almost no reason to listen, read, or follow the news reports issued by their media corporations. It is now more urgent than ever to seek out reliable alternative media for this information; and better yet, to help create an independent news service to serve the interests of working people like ourselves.

Living Dangerously in Catalonia

Click here to access article by "Don Quijones" from Rigged Game. ("Don Quijones" is a pseudonym for a Brit who lives with his Mexican wife mostly in Barcelona.)

The province of Catalonia in Spain
This is the best article (together with its linked-to 2013 article by the same author) that I have read about the developing crisis in Barcelona and its province Catalonia. I have read several books (including Orwell's Homage to Catalonia) about the Spanish Civil War that began in 1936, and have wondered if this pivotal historical event were a direct antecedent of the current split between Madrid and Catalonia. Catalonia was the ideological and military center that defended the young, leftist Spanish republic from the attacks of Spanish, German, and Italian fascist armies. (Meanwhile the Western "democracies" stood passively by in neutrality and watched the destruction.) His linked-to article of 2013 affirms that this history has a very strong influence on what is happening today. I strongly encourage you to read it.

In the 2013 article he insightfully writes about the developing hostile relationship between the Spanish government and Catalonia and relates it to the earlier Civil War:
Franco’s dictatorship ended only 38 years ago — a mere blink of the eye in the great scheme of things — and Spain’s “transition” into a full-fledged constitutional democracy remains very much half-finished. Its institutions of democracy and civil society are still precariously young and extremely fragile.

Perhaps most importantly, Spain, as a living, breathing whole, is yet to come to terms with its recent past. The reason for this is simple: In the wake of Franco’s death in 1975, rather than confronting and reconciling themselves to the injustices and horrors perpetrated in his name, most Spanish people, including many on the left, simply swept all memory of them under the rug of collective amnesia.

Instead of confronting the fear and loathing that had built up during 36 years of brutal dictatorship, not to mention three years of bloody civil war, the Spanish people, egged on by the political and business establishment, chose to simply forget.
In today's article he writes about the current situation: 
...while all this frenetic flag buying, selling, waving and draping may be good business for some, it points to a very dark reality for society as a whole: two deeply rooted, diametrically opposed forms of nationalism with a bleak not-so-distant past are on the verge of a head-on clash. And it’s already having devastating effects on the social fabric as communities in Catalonia fracture, families splinter and friendships break apart.

Wednesday, October 11, 2017

The War on Google Terrorism: Las Vegas, Nothing Google Allows is True

Click here to access commentary by Gordon Duff, Senior Editor of Veterans Today--originally posted on Natural News.
The video above proves, scientifically and categorically that there was a 2nd shooter in Las Vegas.  Many have gotten it right and Google is taking down the videos and blocking the reports.  We believe they do it because we are open to this:  We believe Google Jigsaw, the military  arm of Google, may well be complicit.  No, VT is not kidding, we have found their trail in the Paris attacks, in recent and earlier Sarin attacks in Syria, and we find their agenda, crushing “non-Google approved news” to also be involved in covering up crimes.
I have been waiting for more definitive information released by official agencies to support their theory that Paddock was the lone shooter. There were all kinds of security cameras all over this area--why haven't such photos been released? Why haven't data been released such as Mike Adams reveals in the following video? 

The data that Adams, who is a director at CWC Labs, provides makes absolute sense to me, especially in reference to "lag times". I would formerly do a rough estimate between the visual display of lightening and the sound of thunder to determine the distance I was from the lightening strike. I used a very similar method that Adams uses in the video.

Naval false flags and the twentieth ‘American Century’

Click here to access article by Bas Spliet from Scrutinised Minds

The history of the directors of capitalist ruling classes as related in this long article by Spliet reveal that they will not shrink away from the most criminal humanitarian crimes to promote their class's interests of profit and power. Spliet explains how the directors were able to turn American opposition to war in the late 19th century into support for wars. He examines convincing evidence that led gullible Americans down the path to support US wars and imperialism which began in the late 19th century to the end of the 20th century. Ruling class directors discovered to their astonishment that creating false-flag attacks on naval vessels combined with pro-war propaganda issued by their class's media corporations were able to convert widespread American opposition to wars into strident pro-war sentiment.
Combined with a steady stream of propaganda, however, a number of naval mass casualty attacks blamed on the enemy of the day succeeded in temporarily changing public opinion in favour of war. As a result, at the expense of the lives of many more Americans and people from all over the world, the American empire was born.

Tuesday, October 10, 2017

The limitations of two of America's brightest intellectuals

by Ron Horn

I will focus on two of America's brightest, historian Alfred W. McCoy and America's informal theologian Chris Hedges (a once divinity student and aspiring theologian, and later a NY Times journalist), in order to illustrate how intellectuals of the upper-middle class function to preserve the ruling capitalist class. I will draw on a recent book by McCoy entitled  In the Shadow of the American Century (also a precursor to the book in a 2010 article by him published by CBS News entitled "The Decline and Fall of the American Empire") and a recent article by Chris Hedges entitled "The End of Empire" in which he references the book by Professor McCoy.

When you examine both of their backgrounds (McCoy's self biography in his book's introduction entitled "US Global Power and Me" and Hedges in Wikipedia), I think there is sufficient evidence to classify their backgrounds as upper-middle class. These people are truly indispensable to running a capitalist society. But their relationship to capitalists, who constitute the ruling class, is very much like the African-American concept of one type of slave relationship with the master of the house or plantation that existed in our period of slavery. Malcolm X colorfully described them as "house niggers" (the servants and maids who worked for the master's family in their home and enjoyed superior privileges) versus the "field niggers" who correspond to ordinary workers.
There was two kind of slaves. There was the house negro and the field negro. The house negro, they lived in the house, with master. They dressed pretty good. They ate good, cause they ate his food, what he left. They lived in the attic or the basement, but still they lived near their master, and they loved their master, more than their master loved himself.
McCoy supports the existing ruling class by the absence of any mention of capitalism, a social system that insures that societies are infected with class conflict; and in order to reduce such conflicts to a minimum, the ruling classes must engage in widespread and ongoing subterfuge to disguise this fact. He accepts capitalism as the only reality, but suggests that eternal vigilance from more people like him could have preserved US dominance in the world. He argues convincingly that the "American Century", which Henry Luce announced in February 1941 to the delight of domestic fascists, will come to an end in about a decade. However he doesn't see any threats to human extinction due to the likely prospects of a nuclear war conflagration or climate destabilization.

While Hedges occasionally criticizes the excesses of capitalism, he continues to insist that our governing system somehow represents "democracy", and his apparent obsessive concern about non-violence (or at least he uses this as a rationale to oppose any form of violence--see the "The Cancer in Occupy"--even against property as well as the police) insures that a revolution can never be achieved. He praises such benign forms of activism as projects like Cooperation Jackson; and in his latest article entitled "Faces of Pain, Faces of Hope" he definitely prefers the mild models of activism such as found in the Catholic Worker Movement and "intentional communities".

They both fear losing the privileges and wealth they have gained from many years of their active participation in ruling class institutions. Their long years of indoctrination in capitalist views and values handicaps them from offering any effective advice to young activists who see the necessity of ending a system which guarantees endless wars, exploitation, the destabilization of the climate, and the likely extinction of humans.

Monday, October 9, 2017

Remembering Che Guevara 50 Years After His Assassination

Click here to access article by James Cockcroft from TeleSur

Guevara was another martyr who dedicated his life to serving the interests of ordinary working people against the US-led Empire, a capitalist empire that was trying to crush all revolutionary actions and ideas in order to satisfy their addictions to profits and power in the world. Like other martyrs such as Lenin, Trotsky, Rosa Luxembourg, and Mao Tse-Tung, Guevara will live on in the fond memories of ordinary people and will inspire others to serve the interests of the people against the oppressive rule of transnational capitalists.

In his opening paragraphs the Cockcroft writes that capitalist well-paid ideological agents are, of course, trying to besmirch his memory with the usual deceptions and emphasis on Guevara's mistakes. Crockcroft sets the record straight.
The year 2017 is the 50th anniversary of the CIA-ordered assassination of Che Guevara.

In light of a recent upsurge in denunciations of Che and the Cuban Revolution, it is important to separate fact from fiction.

Here are five important points to take into account, all in historical context, drawn from countless reliable sources, especially from the "References" section at the end of this article.
You may be also interested in another article in TeleSur entitled "Richard Gott on Meeting Che and Covering His Death".

[Russian Revolution part 8 of ?] The state and revolution

Click here to access article by Amy Leather from Socialist Review (Britain).

The author describes the revolutionary ideas of Lenin which he, during the summer of 1917, wrote down in his unfinished book State and Revolution. Here are a few of the most popular ones that inspired people to follow the leadership of the Bolsheviks:
Lenin argues that once people are freed from the “untold horrors and savagery” of capitalist slavery they “will gradually become accustomed to observing the elementary rules of community life…they will become accustomed to observing them without force, without coercion, without subordination, without the special apparatus of coercion which is called the state”.

The need for a workers’ state recedes as there are no longer any capitalists, any classes and consequently no class to be suppressed — and will wither away completely when the norm in society is “from each according to his ability, to each according to his needs”....

[Weekly series of the Russian Revolution of 1917] October 9 - 15: Lenin steps up campaign for insurrection

Click here to access article from World Socialist Web Site

I am continuing to post a weekly summary of activities during the Russian Revolution of 1917 in addition to articles by historians and other informed people of that great event. You may be interested to read my introduction to both series if you have not already done so. 
With Trotsky at the head of the Petrograd Soviet, and with the Bolshevik Party in control of a growing majority of other soviets, the Bolsheviks are now the most powerful party in the Russian Revolution. However, significant differences have emerged within the party’s leadership regarding what course to take.