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

Saturday, September 24, 2011

Al Jazeera director resigns amidst ‘US intelligence links’ row

Click here to access article by Joseph Fitsanakis from IntelNews.

Wikileaks strikes again! The people of Wikileaks have outed another journalist-shill of the Empire, a senior executive of Al Jazeera!
The senior executive of the Middle East’s most recognizable news television network has resigned following revelations that he met with American intelligence officials and complied with their requests to alter the content of news reports.

Conscious Being Alliance: September Update & Appeal for Your Support

Click here to access article by Keith Harmon Snow from Conscious Being.

I regard this journalist as one of the finest and most courageous independent journalists in the world. Reporting the truth in a world filled with the lies of the Empire has become a dangerous occupation.
To top off the challenges of the past year, I spent hundreds of hours working to protect my self, my family and community from the onslaught of two private military companies using assault weapons and detonating explosives at an illegal weapons range near our homes. It was stressful, frightening, costly, unpaid work, unavoidable and unrewarding. It was hell. The local police were involved. These guys worked for Blackwater, and they routinely kill people in Iraq and Afghanistan. This was really, really hard on my family and I and there's been a lot of harassment and retaliation and it's not over.

U.S. not "standing idly by" in Bahrain

Click here to access article by Glenn Greenwald from Salon.

This courageous independent journalist exposes the blatant hypocrisy that characterizes US Empire policies.
..the U.S. is fulfilling President Obama's pledge that it will "not stand idly by" in the face of a tyrant's oppression of his own people, as the U.S. is actively feeding that regime new weapons; that, by definition, is not "standing idly by."

Why the Payroll Tax Cut Endangers Social Security

Click here to access article by Dean Baker from CounterPunch. 

This economist who is a darling of liberal-left circles (even as far left as Z Communications), reinforces the confusion over the issue of Social Security/Medicare funding. This is accomplished by sticking to the ruling class framing of payroll contributions as "taxes". Thus, his proposed solution--issue tax credits to workers and their employers--suffers from this confusion.

Contributions to retirement pensions and health care are totally separate from income taxes. To equate them allows the ruling class to attack these worker programs that our ancestors fought so hard to create back in the 1930s (for example, Social Security), and then in 1966 with Medicare given to workers by Lyndon Johnson as a sop to workers so that they would soften their resistance to the unpopular war in Vietnam. 

Hence, the ruling class likes to mix them up with withholding taxes which are a deposit against yearly income taxes. Everyone is against taxes, so the framing of the contributions to these pension and health insurance funds as "payroll taxes" makes it easy for ruling class politicians to reduce worker contributions. Such cuts are a direct attack, albeit a stealth attack, on these worker benefit programs.

If I understand his solution correctly in spite of this confusion, his tax credit proposal would decrease the income tax rates on employees and their employers. While this would be fine for workers, do large corporations need more tax cuts after their taxes have declined so radically in the past several decades? Corporations are already holding hordes of cash. And, should we reward these corporations who in many cases have shipped their operations along with American jobs to locations in other countries? What kind of public policy is that?! Well, it's called liberal policy (in the political sense) and Baker is an exponent of liberal policies. What the US and the rest of the world needs most urgently are radical changes in social-economic arrangements.

How the Banks Take Down Politicians (Elizabeth Warren Edition)

Click here to access article by Yves Smith from her blog Naked Capitalism.

This politically liberal blogger often has insights on how the ruling class manages their "democracy", although she would never put it that way. In this piece she describes their use of front groups such as media outlets and non-profit political groups such as RATE to circumscribe and limit the influence of people in government who would like to curb the excesses of corporations and financial interests. 

I applaud Smith for doing this, but as a liberal she seems totally unaware of how the same methods apply to the shaping of the thoughts of 99% plus of Americans to support an economic system that is robbing them daily and turning them and their children into indentured servants of the ruling class of capitalists. She stays safely within acceptable limits of capitalist discourse by criticizing bankers instead of a whole class of capitalists who have rigged their system to serve themselves. Not only do the latter use front groups in media, non-profits, they also use front groups like the Tea Party, legislators sponsored by the ruling class, the privately owned Fed which controls our money, and an educational system used to indoctrinate us, to cull out political dissidents, and to promote those who, like herself, stay safely within acceptable limits of political-economic discourse. 

But, of course, that is the nature of ruling class societies, and we humans have been plagued with them for the last 10,000 of the more than 150,000 years of human existence. It is only now that as a human race we face intolerable consequences if we continue to tolerate such social-economic arrangements: the destruction of our habitat, ever increasing wars, poverty, police states, exhaustion of energy, etc.   

The Whole World Is Watching: Nonviolence at Liberty Plaza

Click here to access article by Nathan Schneider from The Indypendent. 

There is beginning to be much more discussion about strategy and tactics among the Wall Street protesters:
Unity, planning and discipline are also interconnected. When the police make arrests at Liberty Plaza, it tends to divide the protesters. Some want to fall back, some want to fight back. Instead, with more discipline, these incidents could unite them and sharpen their focus. Too often, the protesters are letting themselves forget who their real opponent is—all that Wall Street represents in American culture and politics—by focusing so much on anger against the underpaid, working-class police force deployed around them.

Friday, September 23, 2011

War and shopping - an extremism that never speaks its name

Click here to access article by John Pilger from his website. 

While looking for a bookshop that was no longer there, this perceptive Australian journalist inadvertently enters into the artificial capitalist world of a shopping mall and sees so much of the extremism that illustrates characteristics of the larger capitalist world of wealth and poverty. 
The mega mall, the biggest in Europe, is built in the midst of grey tower blocks not far from where the recent riots occurred, its “designer” products, made mostly with cheap, regimented labour, beckon the indebted. That it stands on a site where London workers made trains – thousands of locomotives, carriages and goods wagons – in what was once called manufacturing is of melancholy interest. The mega mall’s jobs produce nothing and are mostly low-paid. It is an emblem of extreme times.
I don't see that the article has much to do with wars as the title suggests, unless he is thinking in the context of class wars.

A Political Casualty of 9/11: The Anti-Corporate Globalization Movement

Click here to access article by Daniel Denvir from Truthout.
Nine-eleven's ten-year anniversary is sparking retrospectives ranging from lives lost to a War on Terror launched. But media accounts have omitted an important political casualty: the short-lived "anti-globalization" movement, perhaps the largest American social movement since the civil rights and Vietnam War era.
If 9/11 was not at least partially engineered by ruling class political operatives, it should go down in history as the most fortuitous event in the 300 year reign of capitalism. But, with the current economic collapse of capitalist economies, its beneficial effects for the defense of capitalism may be coming to an end.

U.S. Government to Gulf War Vets: Drop Dead!

This 8:05m video is from the Progressive Radio Network.

The narrator interviews veterans living in tent camps on the edge of cities in the US.


The Wall Street Occupation: A Sleep-In Protest in the Shadow of Power

Click here to access article by Manny Jalonschi from Indypendent.

Although this article is a bit dated in the context of the fast moving developments at the Wall Street Occupation, I think it gives a more complete picture of the various activities happening there.
The general assemblies, who began their meetings in circles, sitting on the concrete, broke down discussions into three general areas — problems, solutions and strategies. Most discussions began with an open session for assembly participants to vocalize what they viewed as the biggest challenges the country faces in freeing itself from the power of finance. While much discussion focused on the corruption and collusion between Wall Street and Washington, many assembly members  also noted that general apathy was also a problem of education.

The second part of the general assemblies focused on developing general solutions for the problems just identified. Regulation, transparency and again education became the hot talking points for this session. By the third session, assemblies were working on exchanging strategies for local, national and international action.
This event is hopefully the embryo of a future plant that represents the control of the people over the most vital activity of their lives: how and what they produce to sustain their lives and families, and how they distribute the wealth they create.  

This plant will only grow if it is nurtured by the people. This support can take many forms: participation, money, and by attacking the weeds of corporate and banking ideology that threatens to smother this plant. Unless we fight back, there is no hope of freeing ourselves of capitalist ideology and its banking and corporate insects that are intent on devouring our planet garden and our very lives.

Also, see this and this for the latest coverage.

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Occupy Wall Street - Day 6: Revolution is Tweet

Click here to access article by Chaz Valenza from OpEd News.
Yesterday was another rough day for those here in Liberty Plaza, but much better than Tuesday when the police harassment was a definite attempt to nip Occupy Wall Street in the bud.
Meanwhile, the protests are spreading to other cities: Seattle, San Francisco, and other cities in the US. and making news across the globe. However, the numbers involved in these protests are still fairly small; but, who knows, they could easily escalate as the economy continues to deteriorate and impact Americans.

Here in Washington state, teachers in Tacoma have been on strike for over a month, and there is a poorly reported Longshoreman's strike in Longview where things are turning ugly, and it appears that the stock market is taking a steeper dive today.
 

Dearest President and Professor Barack Obama

Click here to access article by Tom Engelhardt from Tom Dispatch.

The author provides a very entertaining interpretation in a very tongue-in-cheek parody of the ongoing corruption in the US military-industrial elite's campaign in Afghanistan. 
Who hasn’t received one -- or 100 -- of those “Nigerian” letters offering you, in florid prose, millions of potential dollars and with nary a catch in sight? But who knew that the highest officials in Washington have been receiving them as well -- and from our war zones rather than Africa.

Psychologists: Questioning 9/11 Is the Sane Thing To Do

Click here to access article from Washington's Blog.
Many mental health professionals have concluded that the official version of 9/11 is false, and that those who believe the official version suffer from defense mechanisms.
The author provides links to many mental health professionals who see a whole society of Americans trying to deal with the conflict between the official propaganda regarding 9/11 and evidence from scientists and engineers that contradicts the propaganda. Currently most people do not believe the official version, and this has caused many Americans a lot of problems. He ends up with this 15:08m excellent video featuring interviews with more mental health professionals relating their experiences with their patients regarding the 9/11 experience:

The age of the Reaper

Click here to access article by Pepe Escobar from Asia Times Online. 

There are few observers of international affairs can tell it like it like he does: with his razor sharp vision he with his powerful prose cuts through the newspeak, the diplomatic language, and the incessant propaganda of mainstream media to reveal the naked, raw truth.
What matters are the "facts on the ground" of Israel as the supreme dominatrix of US foreign policy as well as the US Congress being Israel's bitch. What matters is Obama trying to entice Muslims with flowery rhetoric in Istanbul and Cairo just to meekly submit, and when the going gets tough, to feel the dominatrix whip.
However, the article is mostly about the Empire's new weapon, the killer drones, AKA the Reaper, and the increasing use of these weapons to enforce the Empire's interests.

See also this article entitled, "The World of Drone Warcraft".

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Anarchism, Autonomy, violence and the state

Click here to access article by Julien Febvre from Eagainst.com 
"Julien Febvre” is a Greek writer, musician, artist and filmmaker, student of politics and sociology in Birkbeck University of London. He has studied Arts and Pedagogy in Griffith College, (Dublin, Ireland) and Musicology in Kingston University of London. He has been influenced by the Greek philosopher Cornelius Castoriadis, the Situationist Movement, anarchism and Libertarian Socialism.
I consider this article to be most reflective of my "imaginary", world view, "weltanschauung" (German), or ideological position. Such an exposition of this ideology is rarely found in American English articles. Unfortunately, this article should have been proofread to eliminate several errors and to conform to ordinary English usage.  (Also, I think it is useful to keep in mind that he is writing this to a British audience following the riots in London and other cities in August, and I think that he is responding to the coverage of these events by British mainstream media.)

But, once you get beyond these problems, you will find numerous clarifications of what anarchism really means and has meant to most of its exponents throughout its history. Once you understand it, you will understand that it is a truly revolutionary world view. That is precisely why capitalist propagandists put so much effort into smearing and obfuscating the term "anarchism". It is totally and fundamentally at odds with any kind of authoritarian system as well as the numerous pseudo-democratic systems in existence today. The latter are simply authoritarian systems dressed up in democratic garb.

To aid in your understanding of this important paper, I will point out some of the most glaring errors:
To those myopic conservatives who claim that a society without state violence or capitalism is inevitable, we would respond that oppression, exploitation, war, consumerism, pollution, is the reality they are defending.
I think he meant to write:

To those myopic conservatives who claim that a society without state violence or capitalism is impossible, .... 
Precisely because of this knowledge [the meaning of "autonomy"], they can set their own laws and institutions and despise them whenever they deem it is necessary, without recognizing any totems and taboos.
I think he meant to write:

"Precisely because of this knowledge, they can set their own laws and institutions and discard or reject them whenever they deem it is necessary without recognizing any totems and taboos."
Such like for a Jewish of the Bible the question “is the law right and fair” has no answer because “the law is given by God, consequently everybody who despises it, is a sinner, a heathen or an unbeliever, hence everybody has to obey this law or will receive eternal punishment”.
I think he meant to write:

"Similarly, for the Jews in the Bible...." 
Direct democracy is not a purport but a mean, an ability to understand how we, ourselves, are able to create laws. In direct democracy, all decisions are taken directly by ourselves (whether through popular assemblies, or other entities).
I think he meant to write:

"Direct democracy is not an objective, but a means, ...."

In Every Age

Click here to access article by David Glenn Cox from OpEd News.

Cox offers his views on the current state of the nation (USA) while attacking the distorted coverage of mainstream media and the phony games of government leaders.
The news is about sensationalism, death and carnage laced with preconceived ideas. Barack Obama proposes his jobs bill, which was filled with perks and play pretties for the Republican side of the aisle, only to meet resistance from his own side. Obama counters that criticism with a new set of proposals to tax the wealthy, but if Obama had been in any way serious he would have proposed these things three years ago. Obama is only stunting for the camera, emoting passionate sounds bites for public consumption.

Occupy Wall Street: Day 5 - Workers Union Joins Protest

Click here to access article by Chaz Valenza from OpEd News.
The police strategy was simple: get that video feed stopped.   Make a show of force.   Scare the crap out of these whiners and poop this little party.
Also, check out this coverage.

Profit Pathology and Its Alternatives [47:46m video]

Click here to access speech by Michael Parenti carried on Dandelion Salad website. 

If you have not heard the insightful views of Parenti before, you should definitely hear him take apart the many myths capitalists use to sell their system, the many contradictions in the system, and disasters it causes for working people that results from capitalism for the first 32 minutes. The balance of his talk is about his views on socialism which I think are much less important. 

This was an informal presentation to a group at Utah Valley University at Orem, Utah sometime earlier this year.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Occupy Wall Street: Day 4

Click here to access article by Chaz Valenza from OpEd News.

This author is providing a very good report on the highlights of the Wall Street protests.
The police tactics are now turning to petty harassment and intimidation to discourage others from physically coming to join the protest.
The local authorities of the ruling class are clearly handling this demonstration with great care. They know full well that if they crack down too hard on the protests, that this will likely only add fuel to the fire. So far, this strategy along with keeping the protests out of mainstream news seems to be working. But, if the activists in New York can sustain their protests, things can very well change.

See also this for the ongoing attempts to provide live streaming of protests.

And, for the latest news on the protests in Paris, see this report

The Debt Crisis in the European Union: Austerity for Life (Part 4 of 7)

Click here to access article by Eric Toussaint from the Committee for the Abolition of Third World Debt. 
What the members of the Troika are doing can be compared to the odious behaviour of someone who, while claiming to help a person in a difficult predicament, would actually make it worse and benefit from it. We can also consider that it is a criminal act planned collectively by the IMF, the ECB, the EC, and the governments that are supporting their action. Associating in order to plan and carry out a criminal act increases the responsibility of the aggressors.
I don't know if you can follow all the financial tricks that European banks use to enrich themselves, but it is clear to Eric Toussaint that the European Union and its institutions were designed for the welfare of the private banks and their owners, the capitalist ruling classes, and not for the benefit of the vast majority. Surprise, surprise!

I will continue to run all seven parts of the author's articles to shed some light on the dire debt situation that the private banks have laid upon Europe's working people. It is a situation that is still developing, and many think that it will deteriorate into a much deeper crisis. (For example, see this.) 

Obama’s budget plan: Cut social spending, lower tax rates for the rich

Click here to access article by Joseph Kishore from World Socialist Web Site.

This article provides a good corrective to corporate media's superficial coverage from which one might easily draw the conclusion that Obama is a great populist President fighting off those greedy oppressive Republicans. The author accurately interprets the President's budget plan as offering...
...verbal bromides, including the standard Orwellian line that the cuts are aimed at “strengthening Medicare and Medicaid over time,” are intended to cloak the actual consequences of the measures—the reduction or elimination of care for millions of people.

Monday, September 19, 2011

Obama sears the arc of instability

Click here to access article by Nick Turse from Asia Times Online. 
It's a story that should take your breath away: the destabilization of what, in the George W Bush years, used to be called "the arc of instability". It involves at least 97 countries, across the bulk of the global south, much of it coinciding with the oil heartlands of the planet. A startling number of these nations are now in turmoil, and in every single one of them - from Afghanistan and Algeria to Yemen and Zambia - Washington is militarily involved, overtly or covertly, in outright war or what passes for peace.

...President Barack Obama is in the process of trumping his predecessor.
This thesis illustrates how the US governmental system functions to create the illusion of democracy while serving powerful people behind the scenes whose rule is imposed on the world regardless of who is "elected" from those candidates that are allowed to run for office. (Read an excellent exposé in a book entitled, The Secret Team by (ret. Colonel) L. Fletcher Prouty

Also, the author seems to imply that US foreign policies mistakenly or inadvertently caused instability throughout much of the world. It is clear to me that instability was intentionally created as a strategy to control these areas of the world. See the following links to chaos theory: here, here, and here.

The Federal Budget Through The Looking Glass

Click here to access article by Jules Brouillet from American Monetary Institute. 
Macroeconomic models take the present economic system as an indisputable given.  Their studies, their conclusions, their thoughts remain uncritical; the predominant attitude of the profession is that there is no credible alternative to our system of capitalism. ...For American social science it is a scandal that it remains silent on so great an issue.”  Orthodox economic thinking stops Americans short of seriously reconsidering the merits of maintaining a system that has privatized their sovereign economic power.  Our economic liberty has been shackled to the privately owned Federal Reserve System. 
In departing from my usual policy of posting only current articles, I offer this one which is relatively timeless and insightful. I have great appreciation for this institute and the book they have published called, The Lost Science of Money by Stephen Zarlenga.  It is a bit rough in the earlier chapters, but the author really hits his stride by chapter nine. He bases his observations on considerable research into this widely obscured subject. 

However, I think that they hold the view that if the Fed were abolished and money issued by the US Treasury solely as a medium of exchange and not based on debt as under the Fed, that the capitalist system would work just fine. To be sure, the Fed does act as huge parasite on the economy, but it is only the logical extension of an economy that is based on private ownership of socially productive activity--capitalism. 

Everything under capitalism has a tendency to become a commodity. Thus, money has been turned into a commodity whose control is in private hands under the Fed. Yes, I know that there is some government participation in this arrangement, but it is very superficial and clearly designed to hide the reality of private control.

The Insidious Truth About Federal Reserve Policy

Click here to access article by Shah Gilani from Money Morning.

I love it when members of capitalist firms shed some real light on the system. This economist and investment strategist does precisely that by explaining the role of the Fed in supporting banks (and banksters) and not the economy of the US--that is the insidious truth that he has just stumbled across!
...the Fed doesn't work for the American public - it works for Wall Street .

That's right. It's not the economy the Fed has on life support - it's the banks.
It is clear that our economy is run by and for bankers, not by or for the benefit of its worker-citizens who produce real wealth in the forms of food, clothing, transportation, communications, housing, education, etc.

Media Blackout - Thousands peacefully protest Wall Street, No media coverage [4:05m video]

Well, to be more accurate, there has been very little coverage in mainstream media. View this to make up for this lack.

What Really Happened in Libya?

Click here to access audio-video interview (38:19m) with Mahdi Darius Nazemroaya from Global Research TV. 

While I was busy last week entertaining guests, I missed the interview with this independent Canadian journalist who gives an unvarnished version of his harrowing experiences in Libya, of NATO's war in Libya, and what war in general is really like.

Sunday, September 18, 2011

The Debt Crisis in the European Union: The ECB, ever loyal to private interests (Part 3 of 7)

Click here to access article by Eric Toussaint from the Committee for the Abolition of Third World Debt. 
...we need to be aware that various EU treaties have to be abrogated, that the ECB statutes have to be radically changed, and that the EU has to be founded on other premises. Yet to achieve this, the balance of power has first to be changed through massive street mobilizations.
I don't know if you can follow all the financial tricks that European banks use to enrich themselves, but it is clear to Eric Toussaint that the European Union and its institutions were designed for the welfare of the private banks and their owners, the capitalist ruling classes, and not for the benefit of the vast majority. Surprise, surprise!

I will continue to run all seven parts of the author's articles to shed some light on the dire debt situation that the private banks have laid upon Europe's working people. It is a situation that is still developing, and many think that it will deteriorate into a much deeper crisis. (For example, see this.)

“We are going slow because we are going far!”

Click here to access article by Jérôme E. Roos from RoarMag.

This is a report on the global day of action against the banks that is occurring in Paris.
 

Live streaming of the Wall Street occupation from Global Revolution

Being the best live streaming that I've found this morning on the Wall Street occupation, I thought I would post it immediately. For video coverage click HERE or HERE. (Obviously, this will be a temporary post--to be removed after the event is finished or until the enforcers of the ruling class shut it down.)

The New Arctic Abnormal: Record Low Sea Ice Volume, Area and Extent*

Click here to access article from Climate Progress. 

So far this year the melting data of polar ice from the Arctic portends the complete disappearance of the icecap by 2020.
...what does make it incredible, is the way that freak melting season 2007 has been equaled and even surpassed in some data sets [for 2011].
See also this EarthSky report that provides data from NASA illustrated with great graphics while failing to mention the ominous implications. 

Think of a Tank

Click here to access article by George Monbiot from his blog.

The ruling class always has to deal with the problem of disguising its rule, especially when their indoctrination agencies are always preaching about "democracy". A major method to accomplish this is to disguise their influence through organizations they setup that are called "think tanks" which, of course, are essentially their main propaganda organs. Thus, it is hardly surprising that these propaganda organs are resistant to disclosing where their funding comes from. 

But, this liberal author seem oblivious to the fact that the ruling class has many other alternatives to exert their influence throughout society. They own and control all major media, exert powerful influence over educational systems, and with their direct and indirect control of jobs insure that anybody who fails to follow their "party line" regarding policies does not gain any position of influence. What dramatically occurred in the McCarthy period now occurs in a much subtler, but pervasive form.