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

Monday, December 11, 2017

Iran’s 1979 revolution picked up the People’s torch first lit in 1917 Russia

(Edited for errors at 4PM Seattle time.)

Click here if you wish to access an article (posted on A bird's eye view of the Vineyard) that I believe illustrates a profound insight: no one person can be absolutely knowledgeable about everything or anything, there are no absolutely "authoritative sources", there are no absolute experts, there are no enlightened or superior humans who we all must unquestionably follow, etc.  I am sorry for people who believe otherwise, and most people do, as does Ramin Mazaheri, an Iranian-American. I will try to explain why.

First off, I will try to explain why the people did not turn against the Muslim hierarchy in Iran as they did in other places like Russia against the Orthodox Church after the 1917 Revolution, in Spain against the Catholic Church in the Spanish Civil War of 1936-'38, etc; and why the  people supported the Catholic church in various places in Latin America starting in the 1950s during the Liberation Theology Movement and its activist expression in Christian base communities, reached its apogee in the 1970s-'80s, and to a diminishing extent since. However, the Vatican barely tolerated this support even though it was so popular throughout Latin America. There is a very simple explanation for this. The people supported their religious organizations when the latter supported them instead of the regime in power which typically occurs. 

On my trips to Nicaragua in the 1970s after the Sandinista Revolution I witnessed this firsthand. I met many people affiliated with the Maryknoll order (of the Catholic Church) who performed very important roles in the government and supporting agencies, particularly in education and social services.

In class-ruled societies that have existed during the last 10,000 years (period of civilization) of the nearly 200,000 yeas of humans, most people are indoctrinated to obey, and have faith in, authority figures. All ruling classes (theocracies, feudal rulers, and capitalists), once they take power, realize the necessity of accomplishing this in order to secure their rule. Ruling classes have always immediately recognized that using force to intimidate people into following their exploitative rule is impractical. Thus, an authoritarian orientation among civilized people has always been the case. This simply means that humans since civilization and class rule have always looked to authorities for guidance on what to believe, how to ascertain truth, and from whom to acquire this truth. 

Nowadays, the ruling capitalist class culture endows mostly teachers, police, judges and courts, experts, corporate media talking heads, "authoritative sources", church authorities (priests, mullahs, rabbis, etc), etc, with special knowledge about reality. All the latter people are, in turn, supported by ruling capitalist classes. Likewise, capitalists punish any of their appointed authorities if their activities counter the interests of the ruling class. People like Ray Bonner, Phil Donahue, Dan Rather, Jesse Ventura, and many whistleblowers can testify to this.

The Age of Enlightenment (largely in the 18th century) had temporarily challenged these authoritarian notions with its emphasis on seeking truth through reason and evidence, and above all, science with its rigorous methods of obtaining truth. This resulted in the explosive growth of all knowledge about our physical reality ranging from nuclear physics to the farthest reaches of the universe. Soon we humans were able to harness energy to drive machines to make our lives much less burdened by drudgery. 

However, this explosive period of knowledge was nipped in the bud by the rise of capitalist classes who saw the wondrous potential that all this knowledge could bring them if the energy, machines, the products of the latter, money, and even knowledge itself could be "owned" by them. The capitalist classes recruited workers and peasants with deceptive promises that they would enjoy "democracy" (read, for example, the "Declaration of Independence") if they joined them to overthrow the rule of the monarchy and aristocracy whose rule was based on their control over land and its inhabitants. They succeeded beyond their wildest dreams. Although ordinary working people were freed from feudal authorities, they soon found themselves at the mercy of capitalist exploitation.

Today all this "enlightenment stuff" is largely forgotten. People are taught to obey, consume, and work hard for their bosses. Oh sure, a small minority of them are allowed to receive advanced training in technology so that capitalists can own and profit from the products of this technology. Still, these scientists and technologists are thoroughly indoctrinated in the virtues of living in capitalist societies. They are induced to identify with capitalist interests (profit and power) by offering them a comfortable life style, many extra privileges that are denied to ordinary workers, and opportunities to associate often with the ruling capitalist class.

Friday, December 8, 2017

Look at what media activists in Britain are doing!

Click here to access an alternative British media website.

I am posting this as an illustration of what British activists have accomplished in Britain to counter the propaganda they are fed daily by the BBC and other capitalist controlled media. They stream accurate news and information daily to build on a movement that started small by people who were fed up with propaganda and disinformation. 

Such a media service requires well organized people who will support, and above all, defend alternative media people who want to deliver accurate information about the world we live in, a world that is threatened by nuclear annihilation in the short term and climate catastrophe in the long term. Otherwise we will have journalists who are intimidated, threatened, jailed like Edward Snowden, Chelsea Manning, Julian Assange and many others, or who die an early death like the German journalist who exposed CIA involvement in German media.

How I envy the Brits! If only I had an opportunity to receive daily news reports about events in the USA to counter the Empire propaganda that I receive daily from our masters' National Propaganda Radio (NPR). Unfortunately, it appears that US activists, who are devoted largely to social identity issues instead of class issues, are much behind our British peers. And, when they become involved in class issues, they only look to reform the capitalist system, and mostly look to the next election to vote for other candidates that our capitalist masters allow us to vote for.

Missing the Significance of Israel-gate

Click here to access article by Dennis J Bernstein from ConsortiumNews.

Bernstein, who I often listened to on KPFA (Berkley FM community sponsored radio) when I lived in the San Francisco Bay Area, interviewed Ali Abunimah, co-founder of the Electronic Intifada, and learns that there is considerably more evidence of Israel influencing our government than Russia under the Trump administration. Of course, corporate media doesn't want to touch this subject. 
Ali Abunimah: The Michael Flynn revelation did not show collusion with Russia and certainly did not show any interference in the US election.  What Flynn pled guilty to was lying about two meetings.  Flynn is a serial liar, he lied about his work for the Turkish government.

The facts that were filed in the documents with his plea show that a “very senior member” of the Trump transition team, who has since been identified as Jared Kushner, had ordered Flynn to contact every member of the UN Security Council to try to defeat this resolution criticizing Israel.  It was also reported in The New York Times that Kushner had acted at the urging of Netanyahu.

None of this has anything to do with Russian interference in the elections.  What it does show is clear collusion at the highest level with a foreign government [Israel] to undermine and sabotage the policy of the sitting administration.
But actually the situation is much more complicated by the fact of the existence of a kind of fifth column in the USA consisting of Zionist Jews and Zionist Evangelicals who always promote and fund pro-Israel policies. 

Also related to this is an article entitled "An illegitimate capital for a state without legitimacy" posted on WhatsuPic which might interest you.

State of Fear: How History’s Deadliest Bombing Campaign Created Today’s Crisis in Korea

Click here to access article by Ted Nace from Mint Press News.

The Korean War has often been referred to as "the forgotten war" because of the war crimes committed there by the USA, and the US ruling capitalist class naturally wants us to forget about this particular war. (Our masters want us to remember "the good war" in which we heroically defeated the Nazis and "Japs" and saved civilization. But, as we know now, they only saved fascism to be led by Anglo-American capitalists.) This article only touches on one of the war crimes: firebombing and other bombing of civilian populations which leveled every city in North Korea. 

Our masters have been largely successful in censoring out nearly all information regarding the bacteriological weapons the US Air Force used against mostly civilians in North Korea and nearby China as extensively examined and described in a recent book by Dave Chaddock entitled This Must Be the Place (see this and this). (Notice that Nace doesn't mention war crime at all.) 

These war crimes and the "forgetting" of them is likely due to the racism which influenced our masters' policies in the 1950s and 60s. Asian people were regarded (by them) as "gooks", not humans at all. That is likely why they had no compunctions about dropping nuclear bombs on "Japs" in order to intimidate the Soviet Union.

"I believe in miracles"

Because I subscribe to a newsletter published by AE911Truth, a website sponsored by architects and engineers, I received the following introduction to a new video which I've reproduced below the introduction:
‘I Believe in 9/11 Miracles’

Inspired by David Ray Griffin’s
‘Bush and Cheney: How They Ruined America and the World’
Friends:

Today we invite you to watch and share our newest music video, “I Believe in 9/11 Miracles.”

It’s a riff on one of the central arguments in David Ray Griffin’s most recent book, Bush and Cheney: How They Ruined America and the World, which says that for the official account of 9/11 to be true, numerous physically impossible things would need to have taken place that day. Thus, to continue to believe the official account after one has been presented with the overwhelming evidence of its falsity is to believe in miracles.

After publishing a review of Griffin’s book in September, we at AE911Truth set out to produce this music video in order to bring Griffin’s idea to an audience of millions through social media. To tell our story, we adapted the 1975 hit single “You Sexy Thing” — with its iconic “I believe in miracles!” lyric — and teamed up with Loose Change creator Dylan Avery to edit the piece.

The result is an unapologetically light-hearted and satirical approach to raising awareness — different from most of our educational materials, but essential for bringing the evidence to new audiences and for galvanizing millions of the already-informed to take action.

Help Us Share the Video with Millions

You can help us make this video go viral by sharing it on Facebook and by posting, embedding, and forwarding the YouTube version.

In addition, you can help us reach an even larger audience by donating to boost the video on Facebook. For every $10 we spend, the video will reach an estimated 2,500 to 7,500 Facebook users (which means with just $1 you can reach between 250 and 750 additional viewers).

Our goal is to raise at least $1,000 by tomorrow, enabling us to show the video to between 250,000 and 750,000 additional Facebook users in the next 24 hours. Hopefully, this will put us on a path to shattering our record of 1.5 million views of both “Solving the Mystery of WTC 7” and “Free Fallin’ starring Building 7.”

If you like “I Believe in 9/11 Miracles” and want to see it go viral, please chip in what you can today!

Thursday, December 7, 2017

Recommended articles for 12/7/2017

Climate Crisis and Managed Deindustrialization: Debating Alternatives to Ecological Collapse

Click here to access article by Richard Smith from Common Dreams.

This "Richard Smith", who earned a PhD in economics, is the same person who authored my foundational paper entitled "Capitalism and the Destruction of Life on Earth". He has long studied the phenomenon of climate destabilization and became convinced that capitalism was a primary driver. Since this epiphany he has devoted his energies to the task of alerting the general public to the catastrophes awaiting us if we continue with a social-economic system that will cause our Earth's habitat to no longer support human and many other life forms. According to the editor of Common Dreams, Smith is a co-founder of System Change not Climate Change

However, I am convinced that upper-middle class academic researchers such as Smith cannot lead a movement to overthrow a system that provides addicts, the ruling capitalist classes, with their drugs of profits and power. The upper-middle class as a whole identify too much with the capitalist ruling classes, from which they receive so many rewards, to be effective generators of a revolutionary organizations and actions. If we want to avoid not only a further deterioration of are lives, but catastrophic climate destabilization, then we ordinary people must form the backbone of any revolutionary efforts to overthrow the deadly system of capitalism.

If you have read "Capitalism and the Destruction of Life on Earth", you won't learn much by reading this article. However, it offers a very good summary of that lengthy article.
...as our locomotive races toward the cliff of ecological collapse, the only thoughts on the minds of our CEOS, capitalist economists, politicians and labor leaders is how to stoke the locomotive to get us there faster. ... Corporations aren’t necessarily evil. They just can’t help themselves. They’re doing what they’re supposed to do for the benefit of their owners. But this means that so long as the global economy is based on capitalist private/corporate property and competitive production for market, we’re doomed to collective social suicide and no amount of tinkering with the market can brake the drive to global ecological collapse.

We can’t shop our way to sustainability because the problems we face cannot be solved by individual choices in the marketplace. They require collective democratic control over the economy to prioritize the needs of society and the environment.

Wednesday, December 6, 2017

Planet or Profit?

Click here to access articles by Dahr Jamail from Truthout
As the global impacts of anthropomorphic climate disruption continue to intensify, corporations and the global elite continue to plunder our planet, subjecting areas of the planet that already face fresh-water scarcity issues and other environmental contamination problems to still greater risks from various forms of pollution.
It is not clear whether we have already passed a tipping point such that human survival beyond the next few decades cannot be assured, but what is overwhelmingly clear is that capitalism - and the drive for profits no matter what the threat to the ecosystem all humanity depends upon - is a force for global destruction.

Trump tax cut plan will devastate public education

Click here to access article by Patrick Martin from the World Socialist Web Site
The tax cut legislation backed by the Trump White House is more than just a trillion-dollar windfall for the super-rich. The bills passed by the House and Senate in different forms will now be reconciled in a special conference, but both versions contain provisions that will devastate public education while promoting the growth of private and religious schools.
It's clear that it doesn't matter which capitalist party is in power because the class war continues, and in these times of desperation for the directors of the US-led Empire, at an accelerating pace. Meanwhile, back at the domestic ranch of the Empire (idiom), bloggers on alternative websites bitch and complain (examples: this, this, this, and this) while many ordinary Americans remain passive and glued to the latest corporate media headlines to learn about the latest Trump tweets, the latest celebrities who are accused of sexual abuse, and more Russiagate stories designed for Americans to hate and fear the Russians. 

While bitching and complaining are good, what is urgently necessary are thoughts about organizing an effective force to overthrow the rule of the rich and their system--and these are largely absent beyond going in the street and holding up a protest sign.
What is the solution to this mess? This writer plans to once again get out on the street corners of my town in a weekly peaceful protest. You see, it is NOT just about the new Caretaker for the Military Industrial Empire. Yes, this new guy is really bad news. Alas, if Mrs. Clinton was now in office (as with Mr. Obama) this ‘Military madness‘ would be just as bad. My sign will read:

Save our Cities..Our Troops.. Our Safety Net.

End this Military Industrial Empire!!
 
We must get serious...because they (the ruling rich) are!

Tuesday, December 5, 2017

Why Jihadism Won’t Be Allowed to Die

Click here to access article by Pepe Escobar from Sputnik International.

He concludes his speculative analysis with this perceptive statement:
And that brings us full circle to the initial working hypothesis. Daesh won’t be allowed to die – as much as the geopolitical re-engineering of what Dr. Zbig [Zbigniew Brzezinski] used to call the “Eurasian Balkans” refuses to die.
ISIS-Khorasan, or ISIS-K – that regroup in Afghanistan – can be so handy to wreak havoc in the intersection of Central Asia and South Asia, so close to key BRI [Belt and Road Initiative] development corridors.

Moscow and Beijing though, know exactly what’s goin’ on. The phony Caliphate was useful in an attempt to break off BRI across “Syraq”, as much as Maidan in Ukraine was useful to break off the EAEU. Other war fronts will follow – from the Philippines to Venezuela, all bent on disrupting regional integration projects under a Divide and Rule strategy of US satraps manipulated into Hobbesian asymmetrical flare-ups.

Sixteen years after 9/11, the name of the game is not GWOT (Global War on Terror) anymore; is how, under the cover of GWOT, to disturb geostrategic expansion by the people who matter
[to the Empire's transnational capitalist ruling class]; “peer competitors” Russia and China.   

Protests Planned Nationwide as Vote on FCC's 'Catastrophic' Plan to Kill Net Neutrality Looms

Click here to access article by Jake Johnson from Common Dreams.

Although I have quit signing petitions and attending protests, this is one that I very well might participate in. Without equal access to websites, this is a major step in the takeover of internet access and communications by and for the interests of corporations and the rich. 
With the FCC set to vote on chairman Ajit Pai's plan to kill neutrality in just over a week, a diverse coalition—ranging from consumer protection organizations to progressive lawmakers to Harvard professors—is denouncing the FCC's proposals and scheduling nationwide protests to combat the agency's move to let massive telecom companies "cash in on the internet" at the expense of consumers.

Monday, December 4, 2017

More recommended articles for 12/4/2017

  • Class Dismissed: Identity Politics Without The Identity by Michael K. Smith. This offers an excellent description of the white working class vs upper-middle class ("professional") social perspectives. These perspectives keep the upper-middle class identifying with the ruling capitalist class while looking down on the white working class while the latter become increasingly vulnerable and alienated from society. Of course, the ruling class encourages this division among workers. Malcolm X pointed to this phenomenon many years ago (1963). However, the advanced phase of capitalism, known as neoliberalism, is having increasingly damaging effects on the upper-middle class. So "the times [may be] a changin'" as Smith suggests in the final paragraphs. (Link to Malcolm X was changed on 12/5/2017 at 8:45 AM.)

How Russia-gate Rationalizes Censorship [a "best post']

Click here to access article by Joe Lauria from ConsortiumNews

After reading this rather lengthy article, I am convinced that the general political atmosphere among the ruling class indicates a clampdown is underway on any significant sources of information that challenges the information that we receive through corporate media. This accelerating campaign of censorship rivals anything we have seen outside of the fascist regimes of Nazi Germany, Japan, and Italy.

He begins by telling of his experience with censorship at Huffpost which had its origins in Huffington Post that became a very popular, politically liberal, and mildly alternative website. In 2011 AOL corporation purchased Huffington Post, and last year Ariana Huffington (an original founder of the website in 2005) completely left the website. Since then the owner, AOL corporation hired Lydia Polgreen, an editor from the NYTimes, to take over leadership of the website. That is when Lauria began to experience censorship of his articles. 

Lauria acknowledges that under the rules of capitalism in the US, that is, the US Constitution, censorship can be freely practiced by private parties. Because corporations have amassed huge fortunes, they have taken control over every institution including the US government (this constitutes fascism), but most especially control over information that you and I receive. They are now launching attack on all dissident information which Lauria expands on in the article. Likewise they have filled their media with the most outrageous propaganda that is directed against their enemies-du-jour--Russia, China, Iran, and North Korea.

Recommended articles for 12/4/2017