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

Wednesday, October 26, 2016

Obama administration split on “Plan B” for Syria intervention

Click here to access article by Bill Van Auken from World Socialist Web Site.

The author reviews the recent items in the Washington Post which report on the secret meetings of the National Security Council (NSC) regarding strategies to pursue in Syria. (Unfortunately WSWS's policy is not to include any links to relevant articles, and I don't have time to search for them.) The NSC is a top agency that decides on the imperialist policies of the US. Because the meetings are secret, the substance of the Post's articles must have been leaked to the Post.

Although no decisions have been reached yet, the Post reports seem to indicate that the preponderance of opinion is for the most aggressive strategy which would likely result in the shooting down of Syrian and Russian airplanes.

I fully agree with the author's concluding remark: 
The recklessness of such policies, aimed at deliberately provoking military confrontation with Russia, a power that controls the world’s second-largest arsenal of nuclear weapons, is staggering.

Work harder so speculators can get more

Click here to access article by Pete Dolack from Systemic Disorder.
Class warfare is poised to reach a new milestone as this year’s combined total of dividends and stock buybacks by 500 of the world’s largest corporations will exceed US$1 trillion.

So large is that figure that, for the second year in a row, the companies comprising the S&P 500 Index (a list of many of the world’s biggest corporations) will pay out more money in dividends and stock buybacks than the total of their profits. Yes, times are indeed good for speculators. Not so good for employees — you know, the people who do the actual work — whose pay is stagnant or declining so that those at the top can scoop up still more.
Dolack once again explains how certain aspects of capitalism works in today's world. Today he focuses on stock buybacks that drive up stock prices. This phenomenon appears to start with the privately owned and controlled central banks and their recent policy of creating money on their computers which they refer to as "quantitative easing". It's a convoluted process, and I'm  not sure I understand it.

Tribute to the Last Honorable US Senator: The Story of Paul Wellstone’s Suspected Assassination

Click here to access article by Joachim Hagopian from Global Research. (Note: Instead of posting this article from Hagopian's blog according to my usual policy, I am using the post from Global Research because it includes a much more elaborate bio on Hagopian--at the end of the article.)
On October 25th, 2002 the last great hero of the common people in the US Senate was very likely murdered by agents of the shadow US crime cabal government otherwise known as the Bush-Cheney regime. His wife and daughter and two pilots also died in the air crash. Paul Wellstone’s story deserves to be retold and Americans need to be reminded that criminals in and out of our government still need to be punished for their unindicted crimes. This article was written as both a tribute to an outstanding American patriot and a reexamination of his probable assassination by criminals still on the loose.

Tuesday, October 25, 2016

The Cooperative Movement vs. Global Capitalism

Click here to access article by Margaret Rapp from Grassroots Economic Organizing.

This article is a transcript of a talk given by Rapp in Cuba this past June. She provides a useful survey of economic cooperatives, both past and present, their various forms, and their difficulties, for anyone interested in co-ops.

I don't believe that even the most intensive type form of cooperative--worker owned and managed enterprises--can offer any kind of effective challenge to capitalist directed corporations. However, they can be useful to materially support workers who are unemployed, who can't tolerate working condition in capitalist enterprises, who need to maintain their skills, and those who want to have experience in cooperative management. 

However, I see one exception to my assertion that cooperatives cannot challenge capitalist rule: an ideologically driven media organization to control information and ideas. (I will address the ideology later.) The capitalist ruling class control over information and ideas has been crucial for them to maintain their war prone, boom and bust system, and their ongoing assault on the environment. The continuing concentration of media in ever fewer hands--consider the current proposed merger between AT&T and Time-Warner--gives this class more power to shape information, ideas, values, etc to serve their many anti-social interests. We now see the results of this power in the overwhelmingly false reporting of news about both domestic and foreign affairs which liberals and leftists like to rail about in alternative media. Then, of course, this control furthers the capitalist ruling class control over basic ideas and values that serves to add legitimacy to their barbaric system. 

Thus far I have seen only two articles which express even mild concern over this merger in the alternative media: here and here. One might argue that the concentration of media is already so extreme that more of it will not substantially change things, but the writers of these articles don't make that argument. These writers and the general population seem blissfully unaware of the significance of the control of information and ideas. This is definitely not true for the capitalist ruling classes.

I am making the argument that forming an international network of journalists and other interested people who are dedicated to honest reporting not only offers a media source that can 1) insure the communication of truthful information, but can also 2) offer a revolutionary catalyst for the overthrow of capitalist class rule. 

Consider the fact that poll after poll shows a deep distrust of mainstream media: see here and here. If people had access to another significant media source that could demonstrate honest reporting, the general public likely over time would turn to this source in increasing numbers. Thus far existing alternative media agents exhibit the same basic individualistic motives as their counterparts in mainstream media: they see themselves competing with other rivals in alternative media for donations and advertising. These influences must be acknowledged and dealt with by those who are still uncorrupted by capitalist ideology, and by those who have come to understand the most crucial issues of all: war and environmental destruction which threaten human survival.

By significant media source I mean a global network of reporting activists who are dedicated to providing the most accurate information possible to all people in the world. This dedication to truth would be the fundamental consideration for participation in the network. Beyond this would be a dedication to social justice, equality, and genuine democracy in a world free of any social class domination. By combining numerous worldwide resources and skills in an organized network could such a organization become a significant media source which provides not only information but a platform for ideas consistent with the latter basic values. I believe that increasing numbers from the general populations would financially support such an alternative media organization.

Now with regard to a revolutionary catalyst, I argue that such an alternative global media network would obviously draw attention from capitalist ruling classes who regard the control of the dissemination of information and ideas as crucial to their continued rule over the world. They would use smears, infiltration, police intimidation, outright assassinations of activists, and all other means to destroy such a global media network. However, such attacks are likely to provoke a backlash from people in the general population, particularly if such attacks were well publicized in this alternative media. There would ensue an ongoing battle which could radicalize many formerly inactive people from the general population, and over time could evolve into an effective revolutionary movement.

The Path to Total Dictatorship: America's Shadow Government and Its Silent Coup

Click here to access article by John W. Whitehead from The Rutherford Institute
Say hello to America’s shadow government.

A corporatized, militarized, entrenched bureaucracy that is fully operational and staffed by unelected officials who are, in essence, running the country, this shadow government represents the hidden face of a government that has no respect for the freedom of its citizenry.
The fact of a shadow government or deep state that is in control of our government and society seems to be catching on among people who do not identify themselves as radicals. This attempt is noteworthy in that regard, but it is rather flawed.

Whitehead actually identifies two shadow governments; but his second, Continuity of Government, is only a creation of the first which the shadow government will use in the event of an emergency to the their rule. And I have problems with his identification of the first shadow government. 

It is much to broad. He identifies agencies that are under the control of the real shadow government. He never comes close to the real agents in this shadow government by identifying them as top actors and organizations in the capitalist ruling class: top bankers and heads of other financial organizations and their participation in such organizations as the Council on Foreign Relations, the Brookings Institute, or any other top policy-making ruling class organization.

US faces megadroughts and superstorms

Click here to access article by Tim Radford from Climate News Network
Climate change makes it at least three times more likely that tropical superstorms such as Hurricane Sandy will hit north-eastern cities in the US in coming decades.

In 2012, Sandy flooded parts of New York and New Jersey with three metres of storm surge on top of a high tide and altogether caused $71bn in damage and claimed 157 lives.

Climate change could also mean that the chances of megadroughts – 35 years or more of parched soils – could become much more likely in the US Southwest during this century.

The good news is that both events are naturally rare. And, even better, the future risks in each case could be reduced by sharp cuts in global greenhouse gas emissions.
But the findings, in recent studies led by Princeton and Cornell universities, represent an identifiable future cost of climate change under the business-as-usual scenario, in which fossil fuel combustion continues to increase at present rates.

Global warming continues; 2016 will be the hottest year ever recorded

Click here to access article by John Abraham from Skeptical Science
We know the world is warming – no factor can explain it aside from human emissions of greenhouse gases. Despite this, people who deny the basic facts of climate change have tried to argue that the Earth is either not warming or is only slowly heating. Well that just isn’t true anymore. The last three years are the nail in the coffin of the deniers of climate change. We have enough data this year to call 2016 as the hottest year ever record – and we have three more months left to go.

So, just how hot is 2016?

Monday, October 24, 2016

The Nature of Capitalism

Click here to access article by Troy Vettese from Jacobin

The title for this article is much too abstract for its contents. (The could be the fault of the editor of this website.) The author lauds a new book entitled Fossil Capital by Andreas Malm as possessing rather new radical ideas.  It seems to me that I have seen other writers using the very same reasons to explain why early capitalists turned to coal as an energy source. 

In my mind what is new is that Malm points to a historical parallel for the use of coal by early capitalists with their current preference to use fossil fuels as an energy source over renewable forms energy. Hence "green capitalism is an oxymoron". 
The rout extends to many renewable energy firms that have recently withered or gone bankrupt. “From a peak in 2011 to the year of 2013,” Malm observes, “global investments in renewable energy fell by 23 percent. In Europe the figure was a stunning 44 percent (Malm’s emphasis).”
That the use of renewable energies has declined is not convincingly presented in this article, and it needs to be considering that the use of renewable energies has reportedly been increasing. Somebody is lying by distorting data.

What is clear is that capitalists because of the system's growth imperative must use energy sources that are very flexible and the cheapest. These two reasons account for the fact that contemporary capitalists will never accept paying the full price--nor could they--of the horrific damage inflicted on our planet-home by their use of fossil fuels. 

Russia continues to destroy the New World Order morally and politically

Click here to access article by Jonas E. Alexis from Veterans Today.
Are New World Order agents ready to deal with Putin and indeed Russia? Do they want war or peace? Are they willing to drop their essentially diabolical plan and face reality?
The author exposes the inherent biases that is expressed in most of current Anglo-American media (with special emphasis on "The Spectator") and by officials regarding the new "Hitler" Putin and Russia.

Sunday, October 23, 2016

War, US Government Corporate Propaganda, The CIA And The Russian "Putin Threat"

Click here if you wish to access this 33:34m video interview with Prof. Mark Crispin Miller directly from YouTube. (Note: I could not find it on KPFA's Workweek program which is credited with doing the interview.) 

I originally discovered Miller around 1990 when I subscribed to his email list to receive his articles. This was before the World Wide Web. After the web was established, I dropped my subscription. To my delight I re-discovered Miller only in the last few years. Since then I have become even more impressed with his integrity and his exceptional knowledge about media and propaganda. It was wonderful to learn that this tenured professor of media studies at NY University is still very active in exposing the widespread use of dis-informing propaganda that our ruling class masters are using incessantly to keep ordinary people in complete ignorance about what they are doing.
New York University professor Mark Crispin Miller talks about war, the US government propaganda, the corporate media, the CIA and the Russian "Putin" threat. Miller also reports on how the corporate media tried to get him fired using a NYU graduate student working for VICE owned by Rupert Murdock. He also discusses the role of the United States in overthrowing the Ukraine government and establishing a neo-fascist government. He also analyses the role of the CIA and the US government in their organized effort to demonize Putin and Russia and create a US population hysteria similar to the 1950s possibly leading to martial law and war with Russia.
This interview was done during the Project Censored 40th anniversary at Sonoma State University on October 22, 2016 by Pacifica KPFA WorkWeek host Steve Zeltzer.

American Psycho: Sex, Lies and Politics Add Up to a Terrifying Election Season

Click here to access article by John W. Whitehead from The Rutherford Institute.

Some people are catching on that the current show election sponsored by our masters in the capitalist ruling class has absolutely nothing to do with reality.
It’s like being in the Twilight Zone.

Only instead of Rod Serling’s imaginary “land of both shadow and substance, of things and ideas,” we’re trapped in an all-too-real land of politics and lies, where freedom and integrity play second fiddle to ambition and greed.

Nothing is real.

This year’s presidential contest and its candidates have, through their double-talking and lies, pulled back the curtain to reveal that what we see is all part of an elaborate hoax, a cruel game where “we the people” are just pawns to be used, abused, discarded and demonized when convenient.

My video for Moby, ‘Are You Lost In The World Like Me?’

Click here if you wish to access this animated 3:15m cartoon directly from Steve Cutts' website.

I think that Cutts is a brilliant illustrator and animator (as he describes himself). If you like this post, I'm sure you will be enticed to explore his other material.

Saturday, October 22, 2016

“The Solution Must Hurt Capital”: an Interview with Tamás Krausz

Click here to access article from LeftEast.

This largely Balkan and eastern Europe based website features an interview with Hungarian historian Tamás Krausz who remarks on the state of the political left in Hungary. It is not an attractive picture. However, once again my attention was drawn to the importance of the control of media for propaganda purposes.
Orbán’s secret does not consist merely of the fact that he has installed an authoritarian regime that uses nationalist-populist rhetoric to blame Brussels for Hungary’s problems. .... Through his politics of concentration of power, Orbán has managed to gain control of virtually all electronic media. With an arrogance reminiscent of Goebbels, he has set about an ideological reshaping of the entire Hungarian society, and it appears that indeed the majority of Hungarian society has turned into adherents of nationalistic and xenophobic policies.
Agents of the US-led Empire and their capitalist allies everywhere are excelling at this. Compared to Empire propagandists, the worldwide left seems to be at a tremendous disadvantage; and the results do not bode well for the billions everywhere who hunger for real democracy, peace, and social justice. It seems like Empire propagandists have successfully worked their magic everywhere: Poland, Ukraine, now in Syria, and the use of propaganda by NGOs in color revolutions in other countries.

Rigged Elections Are An American Tradition

Click here to access article by Paul Craig Roberts from his blog.
It is an obvious fact that the oligarchic One Percent have anointed Hillary, despite her myriad problems to be President of the US. There are reports that her staff are already moving into their White House offices. This much confidence before the vote does suggest that the skids have been greased.

The current cause celebre against Trump is his conditional statement that he might not accept the election results if they appear to have been rigged. The presstitutes immediately jumped on him for “discrediting American democracy” and for “breaking American tradition of accepting the people’s will.”

What nonsense! Stolen elections are the American tradition.
And he didn't even mention the capitalist funding of candidates, political party restrictionsgerry-rigging of voting districts, purging of voter lists, and a variety of other methods to alter election results.

Friday, October 21, 2016

Is Washington “False Flagging” The New Russia-Iran-Syria-China “Axis of Evil”, Into Nuclear War?

Click here to access article by Peter Koenig from Global Research

This economist and geopolitical analyst is also concerned about the US-led Empire's deep hole that their directors are digging themselves in in the Middle East. Could they be drifting into a Dr. Strangelove frame of mind in order to climb out of this hole by instigating a false-flag event that could bring on a nuclear war conflragration? He examines this insane possibility.
Currently the US is secretly on DEFCON level 3 warning against a Russian nuclear attack (DEFCON = Defense Readiness Condition). The American public doesn’t know it. – Level 3 means an attack could be days away; level one would imply an imminent attack within less than an hour. This in itself is a false flag, a make-believe that a first strike may come from Russia, when the Pentagon hawks openly boast that a first preventive strike is not off the table. Some high level generals even push for it.

There is a massive orchestrated build-up of potential false flags around the globe that would allow a first strike nuclear attack on several fronts against Russia, Syria, Iran and China, by the US armed forces, NATO and the European vassals’ own armies. Israel is poised to launch an attack against Iran.

Goldman Sachs Top Lawyer Is Part of a Secret Banking Cabal as CEO Blankfein Denies One Exists

Click here to access article by Pam Martens and Russ Martens from their blog Wall Street on Parade.
We don’t believe that Wall Street banking executives have ever plotted the destruction of the United States. We believe the majority want their children and grandchildren to grow up in a socially stable America. But we also believe they have been blinded by their greed, their multi-million dollar bonuses, their mansions in Greenwich, their yachts and penthouses, from consciously acknowledging that their actions brought us to the brink and continue to endanger America’s economy and future.

Congress has known for some time that the structure of Wall Street and its Federal regulators is contributing to egregiously harmful cartel activity.
In spite of Federal anti-trust laws and denials by bank officials, the Martens find that banking officers are meeting in secret. But that is the way the way capitalist government works in the heart of the global US Empire: denials and massive deceptions. They use fig leafs of laws to hide their obscene practices of Wealth by Stealth. Capitalist ruling class pundits always claim that we have regulatory agencies to monitor corporate behavior to insure that they follow the laws. But the catch is that they always staff these regulatory agencies with their own people, and likewise capitalists fund Congressmen who write the Swiss-cheese laws that these agencies are supposed to enforce. The same is true with the banking industry as you will learn in this report.

A Longtime US Ally, The Philippines Officially Re-aligns With Russia & China

Click here to access article by James Holbrooks from Mint Press News. (Note: I thank my supporters, Caren and Christopher, who have created a sustainable small farm in northwest Oregon for pointing me to this recent development.)
...Reuters is reporting that Duterte announced his official separation from the U.S while speaking in Beijing at a forum in the Great Hall of the People.

“In this venue, your honors, in this venue, I announce my separation from the United States,” Duterte said on Thursday, to wild applause from both Chinese and Filipino business people. Chinese Vice Premier Zhang Gaoli, incidentally, was also in attendance.

Duterte went further than this, however, stating “America has lost” both militarily and economically in its pursuit of imperialistic hegemony. Interestingly, his comments come a day after Filipino police drove a van into a crowd of demonstrators protesting against U.S. imperialism in the region.
I'm sure that the Philippine government and especially its police and military forces are laced with people who are paid by and serve the US Empire. Hence the incident referred to in the last sentence above. There will be many further such incidents to remove Duterte from office or maybe even kill him.

So Who Hacked Clinton? The Truth Could Be More Shocking Than You Expected

Click here to access article by Wayne Madsen from Strategic Culture Foundation.

Well, I don't know if he can validly assert that the truth about the alleged email hacking of Hillary's emails is "more shocking than you expected". At least I was not shocked, and I imagine that the followers of my website will not be shocked at all. Anyway I think you will find that he convincingly argues the real background to this Russian hacking fairy tale put out by corporate media. 
...there is not one scrap of evidence of Russian government involvement.

 The corporate media is trying to lay blame for the hacking of Podesta's and other Clinton campaign officials' email on Russian President Vladimir Putin. That is because the Democrats do not want to be embarrassed by admitting that the real culprits are hackers who want to know more about Podesta's knowledge of the "little gray aliens." It is the fault of Podesta and Mr. and Mrs. Clinton that they have attracted, with their talk about aliens, every computer hacker and script kiddie on the planet hungry for any morsel held in government and private computers about ET.

Just when most people believed the 2016 presidential election could not become any stranger, it has taken a nose dive into the “Twilight Zone.” As far as this writer’s knowledge of hackers, it was my job to monitor hacker operations throughout the 1980s and 1990s for the NSA, Department of State, National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST), and U.S. Navy. It was clear then, as it is evident today, that computer hacking blamed on nefarious “state-supported” hackers was almost always the result of a teenager connected to a modem from his or her parents’ basement.

Thursday, October 20, 2016

The Ruling Elite Has Lost the Consent of the Governed

Click here to access article by Charles Hugh Smith from Washington's Blog.
Unfortunately for the ruling Elite and their army of engorged enablers and apologists, they have already lost the consent of the governed. They have bamboozled, conned and misled the bottom 95% for decades, but their phony facade of political legitimacy and “the rising tide raises all boats” has cracked wide open, and the machinery of oppression, looting and propaganda is now visible to everyone who isn’t being paid to cover their eyes.

Brimming with hubris and self-importance, the ruling Elite and mainstream media cannot believe they have lost the consent of the governed. The disillusioned governed have not fully absorbed this epochal shift of the tides yet, either. They are aware of their own disillusionment and their own declining financial security, but they have yet to grasp that they have, beneath the surface of everyday life, already withdrawn their consent from a self-serving, predatory, parasitic, greedy and ultimately self-destructive ruling Elite.
I hope he is right. 

Washington moves to silence WikiLeaks

Click here to access article by Bill Van Auken from World Socialist Web Site.

The US-led Empire is waging a massive and comprehensive propaganda war against its own populations, and sources like Wikileaks must be destroyed or access to their information severely restricted in order for the Empire's war-mongers to be successful in their pursuit of profits and domination throughout the world.

Because truth is the enemy of the Empire and Julian Assange and Wikileaks have been exposing so many of the Empire's lies and evil deeds, Assange and Wikileaks have become one of many of the Empire's list of enemies to be eliminated. Auken reports in this article the extent to which they have gone to silence him and Wikileaks, and their efforts to smear the many released embarrassing emails as contaminated by the nefarious machinations of Russia, another top enemy of theirs. He smells an odor of desperation in their efforts at suppressing reports of the Empire's war crimes, their ongoing theft of the wealth created by working people in the US and throughout the world, and the corrupt functioning of what is supposed to be a democratic system of rule.
The use of such tactics is a measure of how terrified the US ruling class has become in the face of growing mass hostility to both major political parties and their two abhorrent candidates. Their fear is that the relentless exposure of the inner workings of a government of the rich, by the rich and for the rich is robbing the existing political setup of what little legitimacy it had left within the population, and creating the conditions for a political radicalization within the working class and social upheavals, whoever is elected on November 8.

Our Sieges and Theirs

Click here to access article by Stephen Gowans from What's Left

If you need to know how to interpret corporate media reports on the conflicts in Syria and Yemen, reading this article is a must. Here is a sample:
That Washington protests so vehemently about the humanitarian consequences of Syria’s campaign to liberate East Aleppo from Al Qaeda, while US forces and their allies kill civilians through airstrikes, artillery bombardments and siege-related famine and disease in campaigns to capture territory from Islamic State, Yemen’s Houthi rebels, and Syria’s secular Arab nationalists, invites the obvious question: Why the double standard? Why does the Western heart beat for the civilians harmed in the campaign to liberate East Aleppo but not for the civilians harmed by Western campaigns to bring territory under the control of the United States and its proxies?

The answer, in short, is that Al Qaeda is a US asset in Washington’s campaign to overthrow the Arab nationalists in Damascus, and therefore Washington objects to military operations which threaten its ally.

Four Unicorn Riot Journalists Face Charges For Covering #NoDAPL

Click here to access article issued by the collective at Unicorn Riot

This article provides an example of a grass-roots, citizen organized media organization.  I have often argued that a nationwide network of such organizations is essential to insure the dissemination of accurate information within our nation which is inundated with largely pro-ruling class propaganda from corporate media. Also I believe that the very operation of such an independent media would threaten the rule of the capitalist class and thereby function as the most promising catalyst to organize an effective revolutionary organization throughout the United States.

As you can see in this article, the Unicorn Riot media collective, which is based in Minneapolis, is providing ongoing coverage of the struggle waged by indigenous populations and other concerned citizens against the Dakota Access Pipeline just south of Bismarck, North Dakota.
Since April 1st, 2016, Unicorn Riot has been covering the Sacred Stone Spirit Camp, and the subsequent #NoDAPL movement, to stop construction of the Dakota Access Pipeline (DAPL) underneath both the Missouri and Mississippi Rivers.

Over three hundred tribes have come together to say no to the Dakota Access Pipeline. We’ve lived in a camp alongside these nations, sharing their culture and traditions and standing united in what some have called the largest gathering of Native people since 1898.

Over the last month, various law enforcement agencies, private mercenary organizations, and other DAPL assets, have expanded their aerial surveillance, “information” checkpoints, and use of heavily armed riot police backed by MRAP‘s and Bearcat armored vehicles. Amidst the militarized crackdown on demonstrations against the pipeline, hundreds of people have been arrested, including four Unicorn Riot journalists.