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 7, 2013
While viewing CBS news coverage last night, I was stunned into disbelief of what I was watching. I thought possibly I had misunderstood it because I wasn't initially fully concentrating on what was being presented. So, I checked the segment online, and sure enough, I had understood it.
The 2:29m segment reports on a local Syrian militia who are residents supported by their communities to fight against the rebels. They receive Syrian government support with arms and other equipment and a salary which many decline to accept being totally committed to protecting their country. These Syrians are essentially portrayed as freedom fighters! View the video:
Then I saw reported on CNN some coverage about a dramatic picture on the front page of the NY Times of Syrian rebels executing captured Syrian soldiers. Such mainstream media coverage represents an abrupt about-face to the constant theme of anti-Syrian government propaganda in the past several months.
Earlier in the afternoon I received an email from my local Congressman asking my views about Obama's proposed attack on Syria. Believe me, I am not any kind of friend of this congressman. He was polling all of his constituents on his email list. This is the first time that a congressman or senator in my 55 years of adulthood ever asked me for my opinion on anything.
I cite these three incidents as evidence of a deep split in our ruling class, a split more serious than I have ever discovered before in my examination of US history. I'm not sure what is happening here, but the split appears to be roughly composed of two ruling class factions as delineated by Webster Tarpley in this article last November.
Roughly they divide into what is often referred to as "hard power" and "soft power" advocates. The former are heavily represented in the military-industrial complex, Zionists, and other rogue elements identified by Tarpley; while soft power advocates in their international policies prefer to use financial incentives and threats to promote Empire rule, and domestically to preserve the facade of "democratic" rule as they promote their capitalist agendas. But now in contrast with his position in 2007, we see Obama proclaiming that he has the right to attack Syria without Congressional approval.
But this divide among the ruling class over the issue of Syria is anything but clear. It appears to me that the Obama administration and the soft power advocates are trying to head off the influence of the hard power advocates with this proposed strike on Syria. Not wanting to be outflanked, the hard power advocates are playing "hard-to-get" possibly trying to discredit the soft power advocates. This duplicitous strategy might be a preparation for a conservative victory in the next elections, and after that, an all-out campaign to create a fascist regime that would promote more aggressive agendas of world domination abroad and a police state at home.
This retired sociology professor provides his views on the Obama administrations push for an attack on Syria. As the headline indicates, he explores the implications of the gulf between the government's position and that of the American people. He appears to be far more optimistic about the outcome than I am.
Profound and lasting divisions between rulers and ruled accompanied by unending and onerous hardships at a time when our people lack redress in petition and protest, sooner or later, will lead the American people to demand his impeachment. A trial via judicial procedures, condemnation according to judge and jury and incarceration for multiple and grave violations of the constitutional order will ensue.Executives, usurping the rights of the American people at the service of empire and their collaborators with traitorous intent ,will not pass with impunity.
Friday, September 6, 2013
Identifying two types of money (commodity money and credit money) and two associated forms of power (purchasing power and structural power), it [the article] tries to show how the neoliberal move towards privately created credit money has endowed global finance with unprecedented structural power, rendering states increasingly dependent on private banks to maintain the process of capital accumulation. The paper concludes that the making of the indebted state under neoliberalism has brought about an unraveling of state sovereignty and political representation, and hence poses a major challenge to traditional democratic processes.Although the moderate-in-length article is written for an academic publication, it is written in easily understood English. After reading it you will gain a much greater understanding of phrases like "state's structural dependence on finance capital" and the assertion that:
The tail of finance, then, is increasingly wagging the financial watchdog of the state – and the principal mechanism through which it does so is through debt....
The author points out what appears to be a comical move by small town police departments to acquire military grade weapons because...well, everyone else is doing it, and there might be domestic terrorists out there!
I don't mean to downplay the author's seriousness about this issue--he, as a political critic, just uses a humorous style with a touch of sarcasm to get his points across. Sometimes one must mix deadly serious events with a "spoonful" of humor in order to help the awful tasting medicine go down.
The serious aspect of this is that this is becoming a common practice among police departments all across the US. Meanwhile, our ruling class operatives and their corporate media propagandists are continuing to manufacture "terrorist" incidents and sowing distrust among our fellow Americans by any means necessary.
Because their designs to turn every human endeavor and natural resource into a commodity and to promote wars abroad to satisfy their addiction to profit and power, their propaganda messages which always attempt to hide their nefarious designs are becoming more and more unconvincing to the general public. A current example are the outrageous lies coming from the executive branch of government and corporate media to justify the attack on Syria. Thus, they must protect their addictive habits through the use, or the threat of use, of instruments of overwhelming violence against their own subjects.
Remember, we are in the age of globalized capitalism. Boundaries mean nothing to them except to control the movement of workers. Potential, and actual enemies are everywhere.
Global capitalist's insatiable desire for energy and other resources to produce objects for first world consumers and thereby extract profits is destroying indigenous communities all over the world. While Ecuador's president has been hailed as a hero by liberal environmentalists, his version of "green capitalism" is a sham like all the others. This, and many other similar stories, demonstrate that once you buy into the logic of capitalism, you cannot have unconditional human rights or a sustainable environment.
Leftist opponents repeatedly charged that Correa had failed to make a fundamental break from a capitalist logic of resource extraction. Sociologist Jorge León Trujillo states that he never understood how the commodification of the environment, as would happen with the Yasuní initiative, could be considered a revolutionary proposal.See similar examples of neoliberal attacks on indigenous people going on now in Africa and Indonesia here and here.
The economic proposals that Correa pursues are not unlike those that the conservative economist Hernando de Soto in neighboring Peru has long advocated. At best, for leftists Correa’s approach appeared to be one of green capitalism that was quickly discarded when it no longer provided the expected economic returns.
Thursday, September 5, 2013
This blogger has put together an excellent summary of events leading up to the proposed US attack on Syria that has stirred up the present international crisis. There are so many factors that have contributed to this crisis and one cannot expect anyone person to provide them.
Others to consider are Escobar's "pipelineistan" thesis, Engdahl's view of the Saudi kingdom's independent role, and the ever cunning ploys by Israeli leaders and their US Zionist supporters to establish their own hegemony over the Middle East (see this, this, this, this, and this).
The dilemma for Empire directors is the lack of public and international support, and actually a lot of strong opposition. Because of the recent revelations of US spying on foreign governments in addition to this naked commitment to an act of aggression, the reputation and credibility of Empire officials is at an all time low. By making such a strong commitment to the attack on Syria, it appears that Empire directors have painted themselves into a corner. Needless to say, the situation is extremely dangerous.
So, the situation begs some questions: have these directors lost their nerve and are hysterically trying to asset control in Syria? or because they command so much military/police police power, have they now succumbed to megalomania by depending solely on their instruments of violence regardless of world and public opinion?
This author sees banking elites behind the Empire's plan to attack Syria.
Ledwith provides a review of a recently published book by William Blum, a former US State Department employee who resigned in 1967 over his opposition to the Vietnam War. Since then, unlike so many anti-Vietnam War activists, Blum has never ceased his opposition and his activism against the US Empire and its ruling capitalist class's insane drive to rule the world while pretending to be promoting "democracy" and "human rights".
His viewpoint is that such is that ideological iron grip the US ruling class has over its population that many of them might as well have been in a coma when it comes to political awareness. As he puts it, ‘the American government has pulled off what must surely rank as one of the most outstanding feats of propaganda and indoctrination in all of history’.
Wednesday, September 4, 2013
Rebels and local residents in Ghouta accuse Saudi Prince Bandar bin Sultan of providing chemical weapons to an al-Qaida linked rebel group.
This re-published piece from last year is now very timely given the imminent attack on Syria promised by the public relations officer of the Empire (Obama). Having posted the article last year, I again examined it and once again found it to be an excellent example of investigative reporting using primary and other excellent sources such as the 1997 document from the US Army War College. Although she sourced the document to Information Clearing House, I've found the primary source at the War College (Strategic Studies Institute). I also noticed that one piece of documentation, the second YouTube video (ref. #6), has since been removed from YouTube.
Above all, this article illustrates once again the obvious, on-going conspiracies engaged in by ruling class operatives. Like shit, conspiracies happen!
I was recently reminded of this phenomenon in the US where all allegations of government/ruling class conspiracies are labeled in mainstream media as merely "conspiracy theories", that is, smeared with contempt as a kind of folklore, not to be taken seriously, and automatically discredited. In a conversation with an acquaintance, he regarded some solid article I referred to as a "conspiracy theory". Such is the insidiously powerful influence of major media to shape the thinking of the American people.
I have a problem with an argument presented in this piece. The author seems to be indulging in idle fantasies. No, I don't disagree with the possibility that work-free time could be put to very constructive uses. It's just that he totally ignores that our home is on fire (both literally and figuratively), and indulging in such fantasies while our home is burning down is approaching insanity. We should and must be gathering all our energies and imagination to figure out how we are going to fight this rampaging fire of capitalism and preserve our home. Once we put the fire out, then we can realize the true potential of human imagination and activity. Time is running out.
Tuesday, September 3, 2013
Palast summarizes the "end-game" as this:
The bankers' and Summers' game was to use the Financial Services Agreement, an abstruse and benign addendum to the international trade agreements policed by the World Trade Organization.As a followup to this article, British activist Pete Dolack puts these sensational revelations in their proper perspective in his article "‘End-game’ conspiracy or business as usual?" by emphasizing that what Geithner, Summers, and Rubin were doing was "business as usual" under capitalism.
Until the bankers began their play, the WTO agreements dealt simply with trade in goods–that is, my cars for your bananas. The new rules ginned-up by Summers and the banks would force all nations to accept trade in "bads" – toxic assets like financial derivatives.
Until the bankers' re-draft of the FSA, each nation controlled and chartered the banks within their own borders. The new rules of the game would force every nation to open their markets to Citibank, JP Morgan and their derivatives "products."
I’ve no argument against the accusation that Secretaries Summers and Rubin have personally enriched themselves to the tune of many millions of dollars. The facts speak for themselves. I am not suggesting that there is no personal interest at stake here; but the larger issue is that these Wall Street consiglieres are acting for ideological reasons. The logic of an entire economic structure led to deregulation and the disastrous consequences that flowed from it. The steps that culminated in the 2008 collapse that we continue to live with go back decades, before the careers of any of today’s capitalist mandarins.
The long litigation odyssey between the government of Argentina and holdout creditors continues. Debt justice campaigners in Argentina and the USA are enraged about a new ruling by the New York appeals court in favour of the vulture fundsThat these international banking institutions are controlled mostly by the US that used its clout following WWII to establish them is rarely mentioned in any articles related to them. These banks are key players in the US dominated capitalist Empire.
The USA is the IMF’s largest shareholder and is endowed with a de facto veto right over its decisions.For more information of the use of vulture funds and sovereign debts that have been used by major banks to hold entire nations in debt to them, I recommend the following links: this, this, this, and this. Also, read Confessions of an Economic Hit Man in which author John Perkins provides all the nefarious details on how this banking scam works.
When they took control of a neighbourhood, the rebels would expel the children from the schools, which they would then turn into makeshift bases. On one occasion we visited one of those bases and I got speaking to the commander. At first he didn’t want to grant us an interview but I told him that I was Columbian and that Columbia was a friend of Israel.
His concerns duly allayed, he gave us a tour of the place, showing us their weapons stash, which included sub-machine guns, as well as a group of Al Qaeda fighters in one of the rooms.
During our conversation, the commander never stopped asking for support from the U.S. and Europe.
It seems that some banksters at the highest level of banking are getting a bit concerned about the deep contradictions between their exploitative system of capitalism and our ecosystem. They have been forced by an abundance of scientific evidence and the almost daily occurrence of extreme weather events to finally acknowledge the reality of global warming. So, what's a bankster to do but come up with another plan to pretend to solve the problem. I'm sure some of them are sincerely concerned, although not enough to become a socialist in any sense, while others cynically view this as another public relations gimmick that will keep people off their backs.
They have agreed that the present economic system uses and often destroys the environment without paying to do so. And that, they say, is not sustainable.
The banks are also concerned that some companies are using up natural resources so fast, with no thought for their own future, let alone that of the planet, that they will collapse.
Monday, September 2, 2013
This editor of Al Akhbar appears to have inside knowledge of the negotiations involving all the important parties to the standoff in Syria. Because there is no supporting documentation, one has to depend on his credibility as demonstrated by past editorials, some of which I have cited on this website (see this and this). This record plus the internal logic and judgement displayed in this article lends a heightened credibility to his analysis of the present standoff in Syria which he portrays as a case of brinkmanship involving major powers.
Commentators in the West will surely declare that it was their democratic systems of government that forced US President Barack Obama to back down on attacking Syria. But the events that led up to Washington’s de-escalation suggest there were other factors at play.This latest move by the US directorate to refer the matter to Congress could be either a face-saving way out if Congress were to deny support, or it could be a means of adding legitimacy to the attack on Syria. From what I have seen in the media thus far leads me to believe that the directorate is only intent on engineering greater support for the attack. Judging from past experience, it will not be difficult to gain Congressional authorization.
While reporting on the issue, both local and national mainstream TV continue to replay scenes of victims from a chemical attack and feature prominent US officials claiming that they have solid evidence that the Assad government was responsible. Just last night I saw local TV coverage of a street scene in Seattle which depicted a small number of people identified as Syrians or people of Syrian ancestry (see this) supporting the attack while numerous protests against the attack by much greater numbers of people all over the greater Seattle area have been mostly ignored.
This is an updated addition to his primary essay entitled "US Power Elite: At War Among Themselves?” published in December 2012 and is also well worth reading. The author is a 65 year old German sociologist living in Berlin.
This piece offers a deep political analysis of the US power structure, or what I often refer to as "the directorate" or "shadow government" (in place of the staged version of "democracy" performed by the ruling class), which is nearly always missing from the views of other Western geopolitical analysts. These are the people who make the important decisions about policy matters; and as this analyst argues, they consist of two factions.
Unfortunately, this article has some rather serious English flaws due to a poor translation in some places. I have offered below what I think he meant in the more seriously flawed places.
fractionfaction of the Neocons is more for direct action done by the US military, thus formerly dubbed the “Warriors”. ("fraction = faction throughout the article)
They are closest to Israel´s Power Elite and their dream of “having the whole cake”
whichmeans the perspective of the Palestinians “Transfer” over the Jordan.the transfer of Palestinians to Jordan.
The neocon ties into the US military and the ties of those to the Egyptian military gave the clue. This IMO should read "Neocon ties to the US military and the latter's ties to the Egyptian military offers the clue."
But that military coup could have been countered by the Obama administration if
notthe Saudis would also supporthad not supported the Egyptian Junta. And they do so!But they did! The Saudi regime is good friend of the Bush Clan (http://tinyurl.com/8t7rd), they consequently step in and compensate Western financial aidthus they stepped in and offered substantial aid (http://tinyurl.com/mlcl4ea).
“Seven Countries in
After all, the enormous
recoursesresources of gas and oil in the Eastern Mediterranean Sea are the general reason for fiercethe strong US influence in the region as well as Geo-Strategygeo-strategic interests, but there is also Israel´s desire to trigger an “all out war” in the region for the desired “Transfer” (of Palestinians).
The national strike was called following attacks against peaceful protesters in the Catatumbo region, which set off a national movement. Demands include popular participation in the peace process, an end to Free Trade Agreements (FTAs) that threaten the livelihoods of family farmers and workers, and government fulfillment of unkept promises for infrastructure development and Peasant Reserve Zones in rural areas.I haven't seen any coverage of this in US mainstream media.
Sunday, September 1, 2013
The U.S. government may be considering military action in response to chemical strikes near Damascus. But a generation ago, America's military and intelligence communities knew about and did nothing to stop a series of nerve gas attacks far more devastating than anything Syria has seen, Foreign Policy has learned.Thanks to this article I was reminded of Iraq's use of chemical weapons in their war with Iran in the 1980s with the full knowledge of US officials who supplied both sides with at least conventional weapons. It was a classic case of Western agents promoting war between two antagonists both of whom they wanted to destabilize--the old divide and conquer scenario. I remember reading reports of this from--of course!--alternative news sources. And, I remember reports of discovery of some chemical agents that were manufactured in West Germany which is confirmed in this statement in the CIA documents:
Chemcial agent precursors, munitions, equipment and expertise were purchased in Western Europe and Egypt.
This timely PDF document is featured on this website to encourage us to think about a real alternative to the current capitalist mode of organization of societies so that we can live in harmony with nature, with others, and enjoy the fruits of our labor. It is clear that the time for radical change is no longer merely desirable, but absolutely necessary for our survival.
Real democracy will require a whole new organization of society. This paper proposes radical changes in how we think about ourselves and what we imagine human possibilities to be. It proposes a democratic structure based on confidence in the values and good sense of ordinary people.Also, there are many other interesting articles to peruse on this website.
One thing that I don't understand in this age of full-spectrum surveillance is the "This I Believe" statement that they want you to sign, collect other signatures, and email it to them!
Any war resolution Congress would pass would likely be interpreted by the administration as a license for all out war on Syria and beyond.
The people of the world have had it with elite Western rulers acting as terrorists who are holding humanity to ransom. The rulers are presiding not only over military terrorism. They are inflicting economic, social and ecological terrorism with their bankrupt capitalist smash-and-grab system. That system has reached the point of meltdown and that is why we are being pushed into relentless wars – in order for the rulers and their politician puppets to corner the remaining resources. The ultimate solution to end the wars is for the people to overthrow the economic system that US and Western elite rulers preside over. The insane criminality of the US rulers over Syria is exposing this historic challenge facing humanity.
Malone writes about a very interesting case of an Irish banker who tried to follow the rules to prevent a bank collapse and was told to shut up. Since then their government like ours has refused to hold Irish banks accountable for their destruction of the economy. This lone honest banker and other Irish individuals are fighting back.
It comes to something when ordinary people have to uphold the laws because their government refuse to. But that is where we are, not just in Ireland but in all of our nations.