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, August 31, 2013
The author provides an excellent assessment of the unfinished revolution in Egypt in the context of the Arab Spring revolts. He implies that it is a work in process because once a people experience revolutionary possibilities and their power to change things, it's very hard for any ruling class to put this genie back in the bottle.
As the fighting between the Muslim Brotherhood and the Egyptian military continues, there remains the real risk of a return to the exploitation of the Mubarak era. Such a choice would be a safe and stable bet for global capital. But any future military regime needs to take note that the Egyptian people now have a memory of revolution. They have political consciousness and experience of ousting leaders who do not represent their interests.This revolutionary spirit is also a big threat to the rule of the Empire in the all important Middle East and its access to their resources. That is precisely why the Syrian situation is so dangerous. While the Empire directorate is desperate to bring about some measure of control in Syria, Syrians and people as a whole in the Middle East have experienced so much disruption of their lives from Western agents that they may be willing to incur extraordinary risks to rid themselves of Empire agents, their puppet governments, and their mercenary "jihadist" terrorists.
I am no weapons expert, but I believe that Syria has quite sophisticated weapons that can inflict real damage on the US fleet in the Mediterranean. Because Empire directors and their military strategists have operated militarily with impunity since WWII, they have become so addicted to a sense of power which may cause them to underestimate the will and the means of Syrians and others in the region to fight back. If the US does go ahead with plans of a limited military strike, it could very well escalate into a dangerous conflagration. Empire directors are truly playing with fire this time.
On this theme read the piece entitled "Obama is Playing With Fire in Syria" by Ibrahim Kazerooni and Rob Prince from CounterPunch.
Despite being faithfully reported by the media as a perfectly viable military strategy, this notion of limited warfare is as disingenuous an example of conflict marketing you’re ever likely to find.
The author offers a book report on a recently published book by this title written by Adam Hochschild. The book appears to offer an accurate account of this devastating war that featured inter-Nicene rivalries for world dominance among capitalist ruling classes at that time. The war, like all wars in the capitalist era also served several other purposes: stifling dissent and activist opposition in their home countries using appeals to patriotism and the huge profit opportunities from weapons production as well as from re-building of assets destroyed during war.
It's clear from reviewing this history, that nothing has substantially changed: it's still the same story because it still is the same criminal system that is driving history--capitalism.
This report illustrates how big corporations will on occasion use outright censorship to protect and support each other and their system of capitalism. Because they "own" the means of communication of information, they control the content, and to a considerable extent the minds of their subservient populations. This ethos has infected even parts of the internet which many young people have seen as offering a "bastion of...freedom":
The website, which is owned by Google, argues it “provides a forum for people to connect, inform, and inspire others across the globe and acts as a distribution platform for original content creators and advertisers large and small.”
But that distribution platform only goes so far as activists and film makers have recently found out.
Friday, August 30, 2013
The fact that government spy agencies regularly spy on its officials, even those at the highest levels, is not really new--except to the American people. After J. Edgar Hoover was appointed to head the FBI in 1924, he immediately was used to spy on various radical groups and labor leaders in the post WWI red scare. Then in the 1930s President Franklin Roosevelt had him spying on all kinds of people who opposed his policies. Eventually Hoover was collecting dossiers on high public officials including members of Congress, and information was often fed to investigating committees of Congress and leaked to the media to discredit public officials when they crossed powerful people. (Read Hoover and the Un-Americans by Kenneth O'Reilly for all the details.)
Then with the 1963 assassination of President Kennedy, engineered by the surveillance services and ordered by top members of the ruling class, any independent power of the office of President came to an end, and the shadow government has exercised direct control ever since.
However, I don't think that the Empire directorate or the shadow government needs to discipline or blackmail Obama in any way. He long ago sold his soul to the shadow government and functions largely as a public relations officer whose main task is to sell the policies of the shadow government to the gullible public. I'm sure that he must have moments of pangs of conscience, but he knows better than to thwart his real bosses.
These two academics are explicating the unique nature of what they refer to as the "Real Democracy Movement" whose activities are reflected in various sub-movements throughout the world and identified by the authors. It is essentially a political treatise in that the authors clearly support this new form of political orientation, organization, and actions.
The years since 2011 have witnessed the (re-)birth of a global cycle of struggles around the issue of democracy. With the representative institutions of liberal democracy in crisis, social movements appear to be increasingly moving away from claims-based and state-oriented contention towards a global project of autonomy. In this article, we focus on those movements that have articulated a critique of representation and expressed a desire to radically transform democratic processes from below.
In a move marijuana advocates hailed as an historic shift, the Obama administration on Thursday began giving U.S. states wide leeway to experiment with pot legalization and started by letting Colorado and Washington carry out new laws permitting recreational use.This posting provides me with an opportunity to comment on the major about-face in US drug policy. I've been waiting for someone else, hopefully with inside (inside the ruling class directorate) knowledge, to write about a "conspiracy theory" in relation to this dramatic change in policy. Alas, I can wait no longer.
I live in Washington state where it was one of two states to recently legalize marijuana use. The state also reversed itself on the sale of hard liquor which for many years has been sold only through a limited number of state stores. (Yes, I know that legalizing liquor sales to the big chain stores was passed through the initiative process, but it was a well funded campaign that deceptively promised more jobs and lower prices.) So, I've had this persistent question in my mind: why now for such dramatic changes in public policies?
If you have followed this blog at all, you would understand why this question has so persisted in my mind. To briefly recapitulate, our society is a class structured society, and within the structure lies a ruling class that directs policies to serve their interests. (Of course, they have constructed many ways of disguising this fact; but if this is a mystery to you, I offer my sympathies for your ignorance. I simply haven't the time to explain.) Hence, it follows that such a sudden, dramatic change in policies must be explained in terms of their interests, and why it serves their interests at this time.
The answer seems so obvious to me that I can't understand why no one else has seen it and written about it. If viewed within the context of events in the last five years, it simply must become obvious to you: collapse of the economy, millions thrown out of work and few prospects for employment in the future, bankster bailouts, millions left homeless, ever more ruthless austerity policies, and the 2011 riots and mass protests in the streets. Surely, I don't need to explain my "conspiracy theory" further.
Thursday, August 29, 2013
This is as finest a piece of political analysis as I have ever read. She draws support for her analysis from solid, primary sources and supplies links to these sources. Thus, I highly recommend that you not only read it, but study the article and its sourced links.
You will be rewarded with a much clearer picture of the mess that Empire directors have gotten themselves into by allying themselves with the most nefarious characters on earth. You will learn that the thieves and criminals in this case include Saudi Medieval princes, Zionist imperialists, Empire sociopaths, and terrorists for hire that can be used against anyone for any purpose. It appears that terrorism for hire has become a major industry in the region from North Africa to Eurasia. Her analysis illustrates the aphorism that there is absolutely no honor among thieves, and Empire directors are exhibiting signs of frustration and conflict by trying to use these people in their mad quest for hegemony over this region.
The title refers to the Arabic use of "ibn" which means "son of". Thus, the writer suggests that one of the key players in this mess, Prince Bandar al-Saud, is playing into the hands of Zionists. No doubt his long years as Saudi ambassador in Washington provided ample opportunity for Zionist-American agents to co-opt him.
The author expands on the ruling class's use of propaganda to incite and inculcate hatred in their subject populations to justify war crimes against their enemies.
By portraying all official enemies as savages, gooks, chinks, butchers, terrorists, evildoers, godless communists, or a never-ending parade of thugs auditioning for a starring role as the "next Hitler," wartime propaganda plays into our worst fears: the bogeyman. Our enemies, we learn, are never mere flesh-and-blood.
The author explains that once Martin Luther King turned against the war, he essentially crossed an unofficial "red line". Our ruling class directors could barely tolerate him as a strictly civil rights leader, even less so as a union supporter; but when he turned against the Vietnam War, he had to be assassinated and the deed framed as the work of a lone, racist gunman. Once again our ruling class directors got away with murder of a very popular figure. So, what to do with his legacy? They merely constructed a new Martin Luther King, aka a "zombie" in this author's analysis.
Having lived through this period as an adult, I don't quite remember it the same way that Dixon does.
In the four decades since, I never saw anything like the instant turnaround the establishment media did on Dr. King. Overnight the chorus of praise and approbation turned into a perfect media storm of abuse and calumny. He was denounced as arrogant and ungrateful, traitorous and deceitful, a hypocritical dupe of the communists, and on and on. By the time of his death a year later Dr. King was one of the most reviled and hated figures in the nation.To be sure he was attacked in mainstream media after his turn against the Vietnam War, but it was mostly rather carefully gauged. There was some of the vitriol as expressed in the above paragraph, but this was mostly from very conservative sources and, of course, reported in mainstream media. Corporate media's editorial position was generally much more circumspect, and they certainly did not diminish ML Kings popularity to any significant extent. However his great popularity posed a real dilemma for the Directorate (shadow government): the threat of his bringing the vast Civil Rights Movement into opposition against the War. Thus, he had to be assassinated. (Read An Act of State by William F. Pepper.)
By this time the Directorate was expert at assassinations having eliminated President Kennedy and Attorney General Robert Kennedy, Malcolm X, and a host of anti-war activists. They concocted a story that he was killed by a lone racist, and for the most part the American sheeple once again demonstrated their gullibility.
However, in King's case the Directorate had to deal with his popularity and legacy as a great anti-war, pro-labor, and civil rights leader. To do so they had to construct a new "Martin Luther King" which becomes the "zombie" in this author's analysis.
It's great to see this blogger back offering his penetrating insights on all things political. Here he points out the hypocrisy of the Western propaganda machine by citing an Associated Press article trying to merge the image of Obama with ML King.
The US shadow government whose members hangout in the major banks, global oil corporations, and their so-called "think tanks" (they're really conspiracy tanks) are very clever people. They would have to be to "cover the wool" over most workers eyes for the past several hundreds of years. This use of Obama's black skin is probably right at the top of the list of clever ploys that our ruling class has used.
Next up, it looks like the Democratic party members of the ruling class are grooming a woman, Hillary Clinton, to be the figure-head president (in reality the chief public relations officer of the ruling class's government). Thus, they turn racism and sexism on its head to legitimatize the continued exploitation of a population whose members have been thoroughly indoctrinated in racism and sexism by the same ruling class for centuries. Ain't that clever?
Wednesday, August 28, 2013
It seems to me that Empire directors are becoming ever bolder with lies justifying their military attacks on countries who refuse to submit to their demands. Could this be because they've gotten away so easily with their previous, but more sophisticated, lies? Success in lying breeds ever more bolder lies. Where is this going to end?
The author asks a very important question: cui bono? While his suggested answers are good, I think he misses the most relevant answer that is revealed in past Empire actions in this important region. To introduce my answer, I ask this question: what has been the most salient fact thus far accomplished by Western military actions in Iraq, in Libya, and in Egypt? My answer is the disintegration of their societies and bitter social conflicts fueled by terrorist actions. So, who reaps the most benefits from this?
My answer is Israel--that crucially important outpost of the Empire in the Middle East. Is the directorate of the Empire not laced with Zionist supporters? It's not really a question of whether the US is directing events in the region or whether Israel is directing the Empire's response: their goals and methods are in total conformance. Thus, it follows that both the directors and Israeli Zionists want to keep the conflict going in Syria as long as possible. The fact that Assad forces have been heading toward victory against Western sponsored terrorists now needs to be thwarted. Hence, their objective is to attack and destroy important Syrian military targets and thereby even the odds, keep the killing going, and eventually reducing Syria to chaos as has been accomplished in the other countries.
|Your tax dollars at work in Syria's eastern town of Deir Ezzor on August 26, 2013. (AFP Photo)|
I think you can skip the early part of this article referring to the timing of the Congressional hearings on banking misconduct. What I think is really important in this piece is that the material illustrates the overwhelming power of the banksters. Whereas, in the previous history of banking crimes, the government punished the central banksters by removing their authority to issue the nation's currency with the backing of the government, today they have taken over the government and the government is now unwilling and unable to respond to the welfare and needs of the public.
This short article includes an excellent 1:43m film clip of "The International" to reveal a deep truth about many, if not most, military conflicts. Have you noticed that there never seems to be a shortage of weapons whenever and wherever social conflicts occur (or can be created)?
It seems that in the Empire's Egypt asking to be paid for work is tantamount to treason.
The demands of the Suez Steel Company workers include the payment of their wages for the month of July and the payment of overdue profit-sharing. Meanwhile, workers at the Scimitar Petroleum Company have been demanding overdue bonuses and the reinstatement of several sacked workers, along with better wages and working conditions.The crushing of union protests and other actions by Egyptian police and army show whom these instruments of state violence really serve. Of course, behind these instruments of violence there stands the armed might of the capitalist Empire that supplies them with $1.3 billion worth of weapons and training annually.
The author provides an update on the worldwide assaults on the Earth's ecosystem by business as usual under capitalism, and the picture grows ever more ominous.
Tuesday, August 27, 2013
The people of the Empire's thoroughly militarized client state in South America are fighting back against a broad range of neoliberal attacks on their economy and well-being. The author provides many details.
Protesters are levying a broad range of concerns about public policies that devastate Colombia's workers, indigenous, and Afro-Colombian communities.
More recently, US aid seems to be going to Columbia to train other countries' soldiers in methods which would not be allowed in the US (see this and this).
Wherever corporate-backed free trade policies are promoted, you will find the US military or secret "security" agencies engaged in one way or another. Of course, this is nothing new about the role of the US military. As Gen. Smedley Butler wrote back in 1935, “I spent 33 years and four months in active military service and during that period I spent most of my time as a high class muscle man for Big Business, for Wall Street and the bankers."
We are informed of another approach to ecological limits in the American West by this author. City reservoirs are going dry, dam levels are lowering, fights over water supplies are increasing, etc. However he offers only a short-term set of proposals for correcting the problem. The fundamental problem which he, and most other people insist on ignoring, is an economic system that demands growth.
Monday, August 26, 2013
The author sees the imminent threat of US-British attack on Syria justified by the suspicious chemical weapons attack as a means of creating greater cohesion among the numerous terrorist factions and their crony Empire accomplices.
As in all criminal conspiracies when results do not go according to plan, the protagonists start blaming one another; and because of the treacherous nature of the conspiracy, the partners-in-crime are eventually prone to feelings of distrust, resentment and paranoia.
This splintering and bickering can be seen in the Western-led axis against Syria. In recent weeks, we have signs of emerging rivalries, spats and distrust that all point to the axis coming apart.
That may be the important backdrop to this week’s alleged chemical weapons attack near Damascus, in which over 100 people were killed.
Suspicion points to the atrocity being ultimately the work of Saudi Arabia or Israel, or both, in an attempt to trigger a full-scale Western military intervention.
The professor has collected a lot of information on US death squads as a means of creating chaos and divisions within any targeted population, and thereby defeat a population's ability to organize an effective effort to fight back. This policy which has become known as the "Salvador Option" has been successfully used in a number of countries whose ruling classes serve the Empire's interests at the expense of their own populations.
The chief way that Empire directors deal with leaks about such activities is to deny everything and launch a huge propaganda campaign backed by government policies to simulate actions against the very thing the leaks have revealed. Hence, we have the "War on Terror" and the "War on Drugs", both of which (terror and drugs) Empire directors and their operatives have frequently promoted throughout the world.
Given the current uproar about government/corporate collusion in spying on Americans, it logically follows that the government is waging a war on spies (although not formally announced)...you know, like Assange, Manning, and Snowden who are portrayed in corporate media as traitors.
If you are a naïve American who values comfort above all else, you probably don't want to read this. Actually, you probably should get out of this website as soon as possible.
Who says there aren't job opportunities for college graduates? This article provides details on job opportunities that are in great demand by the government's surveillance agencies--computer hackers. It also indicates that hackers don't necessarily have to work for the spy agencies directly, which might cause some issues of conscience, instead they can work for private contractors.
“The government doesn’t have the resources to directly monitor every American or let alone every foreigner but they want to read the communications of every foreigner and they want to collect information on every American,” explains Soghoian. “What do you do when you don’t have the manpower to collect everyone’s communications?”For another way to gather private information which might offer more job opportunities, see also this article from the same source entitled "Glimmerglass Intercepts Undersea Cable Traffic for Spy Agencies".
The answer, he says, is spy software. [Designed by corporations]
The author digs up reports on fracking operations that you probably didn't see reported in mainstream media--because they weren't. Heinberg explains why:
Americans are being subjected to a massive PR assault attempting to persuade them that shale gas and tight oil have brightened America’s energy future. What has really changed is the nation’s energy conversation: until recently, it was about how we should reduce our dependency on depleting, climate-changing fossil fuels. Now our “conversation” has become a one-sided harangue about the energy, jobs, and tax revenues the industry insists will flow from fracking from now ’til kingdom come, and how these outweigh environmental concerns.
The data do not support these claims.
This article reports on one more piece of scientific research from Germany identifying global warming feedback effects that will accelerate the ominous threat of climate destabilization:
Simply put, their research shows that ocean acidification has the potential to speed up global warming considerably.
Sunday, August 25, 2013
While I absolutely differ with this writer regarding his cynical regard for the Arab Spring events, he assembles a comprehensive background of information from solid sources to consider while examining the latest propaganda stunt by Empire directors to justify military intervention in Syria to salvage some kind of victory from what has been a disaster up till now.
I felt a bit uncomfortable with parts of this essay, but nevertheless it is a thoughtful review of the revolutionary struggle manifested in Egypt up to this point. I definitely agree with the headline, and believe that Egyptians will be forced by circumstances to be willing to "die for it".
I see this struggle as a process, a trial by fire that ordinary Egyptians are confronted with. Of course, a new equilibrium could theoretically be attained under the control of the Egyptian military, the regional power of the Empire; but I think that this is unlikely. It is unlikely because the Empire and its rule is extremely unstable at this point in history. Thus the subplot of resistance to Empire control in Egypt cannot, in my opinion, attain any kind of stability even with the overwhelming military power of SCAF backed by the Empire and its crony Medieval allies in the region.
Therefore, a trial by fire will be unavoidable for Egyptians as well as many others in the region. They will be forced by the onslaught of economic and political chaos to learn not only who their real enemies are, but how to effectively combat them in order to secure their very survival. I fear for their future. It is not a future that I would wish on anyone, but history will have its way. Hopefully, in this terrible process they will also learn how to construct an inclusive, sustainable democratic society.
This 13:48m video offers the most concise and valid argument that I have seen which implores the American people to act because to continue to remain passive insures that our society will remain on the road to a totalitarian nightmare state and WWIII. The video highlights the most influential facts determining the course of history since WWII, their implications for the future, and offers reasonable recommendations for action.
I just discovered this website this morning, and thus far have only viewed three other videos. Unfortunately, one of the videos I found presented the old, tired, hysterical accusations about water fluoridation. So, as usual, you as a thinking person will have to make up your own mind by using your critical thinking skills to judge the soundness of the other videos and the website as a whole.