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, December 21, 2013

Why Barrett Brown's Trial Matters

Click here to access article by Kevin M. Gallagher from Huffington Post.

I have not devoted as much time to the governments persecution of this investigative journalist as I now think is deserved. This current article only roughly summarizes the significance of his victimization by US security agencies. 

For a better, more detailed explanation I highly recommend a February 2013 article entitled "Why Is Barrett Brown Facing 100 Years in Prison?" posted on Vice which provides information about some very pernicious types of software that security agencies and their private contractors are using against any grassroots opposition, and Brown's efforts to bring that to our attention. This earlier article dramatically affirms the credibility of the conclusions drawn by Gallagher as reported in this article.
..."Brown's case is a bellwether for press freedoms in the new century, where hacks and leaks provide some of our only glimpses into the technologies and policies of an increasingly privatized national security-and-surveillance state." Indeed. So it's not surprising that the establishment seeks to imprison and silence those intent on using the advances of the information age to expose it. In effect, the FBI has outed itself as ever-so-dutiful servants of the private security companies Brown was researching.

Remaking Mexico’s oil industry on behalf of the 0.1%

Click here to access article by Gary Engler from New Commune-ist Manifesto (Canada).

While neo-capitalists are racking up one victory after another in their globalist rampage in pursuit of profits, there is one recent victory which stands out as most bitter for working people of Mexico.
...the 1938 expropriation of the world’s second largest oil industry, which was the first nationalization by a capitalist country, and the creation of government-owned Pemex are celebrated throughout Mexico and their significance in transforming the country is taught in schools. 

The Jungle: Thousands of Homeless People Live in Shantytowns at the Epicenter of High-Tech, Super-Rich Silicon Valley

Click here to access article by Evelyn Nieve from AlterNet

During the early 1980s I worked for real estate management companies participating in the subsidized housing programs of the government. At some point during this time it became startling clear to me that without subsidized housing there would be no way that many of my clients could afford housing at all. It was only a few years later in the Reagan administration that I began to see and experience the slow strangulation of this government program. 

Now, 30 years later and after an economic collapse, the US is beginning to look like a typical Latin American country with signs of extreme wealth most visible on TV and extreme poverty which is daily visible on the streets. The ruling One Percent try very hard to keep the latter hidden in out of the way places, but they are losing the battle. These developments suggest that unlike what happened in the 1930s, the fascist inclined forces of the nouveau riche are in control (see my commentary to the previous posted article below). 

This article focuses on one area in the US where the extremes are becoming quite visible, and describes the lifestyle of those living in these homeless encampments.
That people live and die on the streets of Silicon Valley is no news to the poor, of course. With more than 6,500 tech companies in all, Santa Clara County is home to the biggest stars in the tech universe, including Google, Facebook, Yahoo, eBay and Apple. But the land of high-tech milk and honey is also a prime example of the widening divide between the nation’s haves and have-nots.

Old Money Families That Have Been Richest The Longest

Click here to access article by Lisa Dingman from TheRichest.

Although on all economic and political issues the One Percent are generally united, there are divisions within this population that make invidious distinctions especially when it comes to socializing. This article describes one major division: old wealth and new wealth with emphasis on the former. 

From time to time this division also manifests itself in domestic American politics. The most dramatic example was in the reign of Franklin D. Roosevelt whose administrations prior to WWII were intent on maintaining the capitalist system that was threatened by popular reaction to the gross inequities of the depression, the growth of militant labor organizations, and the widespread appeal of socialist ideas. 

This old rich section of the ruling class were vigorously attacked by the more recent arrivals in the capitalist class who wanted all out class war and were very much attracted to the fascist ideas and policies emanating from Europe. (If this suppressed history is news to you, I recommend that you read American Swastika by Charles Higham, Facts and Fascism by George Seldes, and The Plot to Seize the White House by Jules Archer.)  FDR had to steer a very careful course between popular opposition to the rule of the rich and these fascist elements in the ruling One Percent in order to save capitalism and maintain an Anglo-American hegemony over the rest of the world. He performed brilliantly. His successful performance in achieving these two goals is precisely why he is regarded by all liberal capitalist historians as a hero.

This article safely focuses on the social aspects of this ruling class division.
Believe it or not, no matter how hard top billionaires like Carlos Slim, Warren Buffett and Bill Gates work, and no matter how much money they rake in, they will never be considered as equals by the old rich families that have been wealthy for centuries.

Friday, December 20, 2013

Glenn Greenwald & Checkbook Journalism

Click here if you wish to access the brief introduction to this one hour discussion with participants James Corbett, Sibel Edmonds, and Guillermo Jimenez from Boiling Frogs

I believe that the three dedicated alternative media people are going overboard in trying to be fair about all the inconsistencies and questionable practices that are evident in the actions of Glenn Greenwald in relation to the NSA revelations. Although I, too, have posted many articles of Greenwalds at this site, I have always had a question in the back of my mind about his ultimate commitments and values. 

This questioning stance had nothing to do with Greenwald personally, but to anyone who has come up through the ranks of liberal media and other liberal organizations. Such people have through their careers demonstrated an allegiance to the existing ruling class or otherwise they would have been weeded out long ago. Liberals in general serve the ruling class by acting as gatekeepers of information and co-opters (a word I just made up for people who engage in co-opting people to believe in the existing fundamental societal arrangements). 

They serve the ruling class by keeping people who are very critical of the existing power structure from moving to a position where they question the system of capitalism which provides the ruling One Percent with so much wealth and power. Such liberals play an important function by helping to keep the ruling class in power and their system preserved, and for this service they are well rewarded with access to media and funding. Have you noticed that none of the liberal websites such as Salon, AlterNet, and TomDispatch are covering this strange turn of events perpetrated by Glenn Greenwald?

It should also be understood that many people who are raised in class-structured societies are always subject to thorough indoctrination in the beliefs about the merits of authorities. Hence, many people are conflicted when presented with evidence that suggests the fallibility and corruption of these authorities, their representatives, or even liberal spokespeople. 

Trans-Latin business and land grabbing in Latin America

Click here to access article by Sally Burch from América Latina en Movimiento.

In this article Burch interviews Cristobal Kay, a specialist in development and agrarian reform, who explains the current phenomenon of capitalist land-grabbing and its current form in Latin America which is quite different from the old latifundia.
...now it is not a question of expropriating uncultivated, unproductive land, as was the case with the old large estates.  These are capitalist enterprises, with large and highly productive investments, high-tech, completely integrated into the international market; hence governments are extremely reluctant to touch these businesses. 
 Kay also has ideas on what is necessary to combat land-grabbing.

Victims no longer: Spain’s anti-eviction movement

Click here to access article by Carlos Delclós from openDemocracy.

People in Spain have been some of the worst victims in Europe of the 2007/2008 capitalist engineered economic collapse. Following large street demonstrations early on, activists there are now engaged in slowly building an opposition movement by helping people to keep their homes (they have stopped over 800 evictions) and to house those who have already lost their homes. I think there is much to be learned here from their strategies.
I would say that our tactics and strategies are mostly short-term and consist of establishing goals that are attainable in terms of their time-frame and the energy they require. These short-term, tangible successes lead people to go from being dejected and demoralized to being empowered and making an impact in their communities, in relatively little time. They also help us keep the movement visible, reach more people and continue to question politicians and bankers about changing the law.

At the same time, our assemblies assure that we are always learning from and training one another, so that we never lose the essence of what makes the PAH so important, which is the people who participate in the movement. Without a doubt, the PAH’s greatest success has been to empower people.

Thursday, December 19, 2013

Mr. Snowden, It’s Time to Come Out and Take a Stand Publicly as to Your Intentions

Click here to access article by Sibel Edmonds from Boiling Frogs

As the founder and president of the National Security Whistleblowers Coalition, a nonprofit organization dedicated to aiding national security whistleblowers, Edmonds is rightfully very concerned about the strange and troubling twists in related events subsequent to Snowden's asylum in Russia.

To fully understand this post, you need to be aware of the developments leading up to it. To review these developments, I highly recommend that you read her earlier posts on the subject:

12/8/2013: Checkbook Journalism & Leaking to the Highest Bidder
12/11/2013: BFP Report- Omidyar’s PayPal Corporation Said To Be Implicated in Withheld NSA Documents
12/13/2013: Greenwald Goes on Record: “I Don’t Doubt PayPal Cooperates with NSA!”
12/13/2013: Greenwald-Omidyar Venture: Blurring Lines Between Being A Source & Being A Journalist
12/14/2013: Green-Light for Greenwald: Government Duplicity or Government Duality? 
Sibel Edmonds
Sibel Edmonds
Checkbook Journalism & Leaking to the Highest Bidder - See more at: http://www.boilingfrogspost.com/2013/12/15/mr-snowden-its-time-to-come-out-and-take-a-stand-publicly-as-to-your-intentions/#sthash.QYq9oSP

The Double Standards of U.S. Nuclear Policy on Iran

Click here to access article by Tyler Cullis from Muftah

The headline may be obvious to many visitors to my blog, but this author lays out the facts in some detail.
It is instructive...to examine just how the United States and its European partners have treated Iran’s nuclear program in comparison to other states. Of  particular interest are those countries which are more closely allied to the West and have run into similar trouble with the International Atomic Energy Agency, as well as those that exist outside the nonproliferation regime altogether.

Complications of the Saudi Alliance With Israel

Click here to access article by As'ad AbuKhalil from Al Akhbar
Never before has the Saudi government felt comfortable flaunting its alliance with Israel. This alliance is not new and has long historical precedences. But the Saudi royal family, in the age of the second generation of princes, has been changing tactics: Historically cautious and duplicitous, the Saudi regime is now open about its alliance with the United States and Israel (closer to Israel than the US as of late).

Globalization: Fast Track To Nowhere

Click here to access article by Colin Todhunter from his blog East by Northwest

This writer examines the fast-life created by capitalism on steroids that is destroying everything we love about communities, and he doesn't like it. There are hints throughout the article that he is becoming aware of what is causing the drastic transformation of all life in service to the profit addicted capitalist ruling classes.
  • ...that’s what fast living or, to be precise, the system that creates it does. It corrupts and destroys most things that get in its way. It recasts everything in its own image. 
  • The root of the problem needs to be addressed. The slow life, whether slow food or slow urban environments, is impossible if we fail to realize that decisions about urban planning, economic activity, investment, products and services, etc, are made through the capture of governments, regulatory agencies and courts by corporations adamant on expanding and perpetuating their dominance.  
  • ...we must eradicate the material conditions that produce and perpetuate class-based exploitation and divisions on an increasingly global level. 
  • What we need is proper democracy achieved through, for example, common ownership of banks and key industries and a commitment to ‘green’ policies and renewable energy. 
          [my emphasis]

The Nuclear Menace: Iran? Are You Serious? Or Delirious?

Click here to access article by Frank Scott from legalienate.

If you like your commentary in the form of hard-hitting satire, this blog is the place for you.

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

"Green Capitalism: Why it can’t work"

Click here to access this book review of Green Capitalism: Why it can't work by reviewer Ian Angus posted on Climate & Capitalism.
Although some aspects are open to challenge, Green Capitalism: Why it can’t work is an important contribution to the fight against climate change and for ecosocialism. [Author] Tanuro isn’t just a writer, he’s a leading environmental activist, and it shows – he provides a wealth of concrete information and analysis that we can actually use in the struggle against capitalist ecocide.

Are We Falling Off the Climate Precipice?

Click here to access article by Dahr Jamail from TomDispatch. (Note: if you wish to skip Engelhardt's introduction, you will need to scroll down to the article by Jamail.) 

If somehow you have wandered innocently onto this website, I think I should warn you that the content of this article could be hazardous to your mental health--especially if you normally only consume the news and information pablum provided by corporate owned media. 

Okay, now for the rest of us who still look critically and fearlessly at information, what I found most disturbing in this article by an independent journalist and author is the timeline record of scientific predictions which suggests that the most negative predictions are likely the most accurate. I intuitively felt this all along, but now the evidence that the author provides largely confirms this fear.

Here is one statement from a scientist that I felt was especially true--although I would put far more emphasis on the economic system than on numbers of people:
"Economic growth is the biggest destroyer of the ecology. Those people who think you can have a growing economy and a healthy environment are wrong. If we don't reduce our numbers, nature will do it for us. .... Everything is worse and we're still doing the same things. Because ecosystems are so resilient, they don't exact immediate punishment on the stupid."

Americans Are Finally Learning About False Flag Terror

Click here to access article from Washington's Blog.



So Common … There’s a Name for It
 

This tactic is so common that it was given a name for hundreds of years ago.
 

“False flag terrorism” is defined as a government attacking its own people, then blaming others in order to justify going to war against the people it blames. 

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

The End of Childhood in the Era of the Emerging American Police State

Click here to access article by John W. Whitehead from Blacklisted News.

Referring to numerous incidents involving police being called in to deal with children acting out, the author regards them as more signs of an emerging police state in the US.
...their true purpose...seems to be simply to acclimate children to the mindset of paranoia and absolute deference to authority which has taken hold of the American populace at large. Children, who are naturally suspect of illegitimate authority, are being conditioned to accept any and all orders from on high, even those which they inherently know are wrong.

Bahrain expansion latest signal of continued US presence

Click here to access article by Hendrick Simoes from Stars and Stripes.

Isn't it interesting in this age of austerity that news of government spending on military bases and operations throughout the world rarely make it into corporate news? Of course, we also don't hear much about the years of the Medieval kingdom's brutal crackdown on protestors (see this and this). 
The $580 million expansion now underway at the U.S. Navy base here, which will nearly double its size, is a clear signal of the Pentagon’s commitment to maintaining a strong presence in the Middle East.

The Life and Times of Jacques de Groote

Click here to access article by Eric Toussaint from the Committee for the Cancellation of the Third World Debt.  

The author reviews the history of a key player in the IMF and World Bank who was recently convicted and fined for his involvement in "money laundering and fraud or complicity of fraud". After looking into his background, Toussaint has uncovered a career in the most nefarious, but legal international banking institutions that played a major role in capitalist exploitation of African resources. 
Beyond the narrow scope of this trial, it is interesting to take a broader look at Jacques de Groote’s personal trajectory, because he was an emblematic figure of the IMF and World Bank, and there is a link between the role he played in these institutions and this affair brought before Swiss courts.

Fracking Chemicals Interfere With Hormone Function, Contaminate Groundwater With Endocrine-Disrupters

Click here to access article by Matthew Mientka from Medical Daily.
"More than 700 chemicals are used in the fracking process, and many of them disturb hormone function," Nagel, also a research scientist, said in a statement Monday. "With fracking on the rise, populations may face greater health risks from increased endocrine-disrupting chemical exposure."

The Empire Strikes Back: How Wall Street Has Turned Housing Into a Dangerous Get-Rich-Quick Scheme - Again

Click here to access article by Laura Gottesdiener from TomDispatch. (Note: if you wish to skip Engelhardt's introduction, you will need to scroll down to the article.)

For the past few years I expected that this was happening, and looked in vain to find much media coverage. It has apparently been a well kept secret hidden mostly from the public because it is far too embarrassing for the One Percent ruling class to reveal.

This class loves their economic busts because they provide splendid opportunities to buy up assets on the cheap. The 2007/2008 featured most prominently a collapse in the housing market set up by the ruling class who induced so many of the 99 Percent to take out easy mortgages. Remember the "ownership society" theme promoted by George Bush back in 2004?  Now they are cashing in on this great profit opportunity by buying  housing on the cheap and renting them back at high rates to people who have been thrown out of their homes by banks.



Monday, December 16, 2013

Union, politicians press Boeing workers for revote on rejected contract extension

Click here to access article by Hector Cordon from World Socialist Web Site.

The ongoing issue of whether Boeing uses its facilities in the Seattle area or move to numerous other sites across the country is an excellent illustration of the power of these huge corporations. They appear more powerful than the State of Washington which has proposed giving it record setting tax write-offs if they stay in the state. And, of course, there is no contest when they are put up against labor unions. 

Unless you believe, like many liberals and other social critics, that these corporations can be downsized sufficiently to give local communities, states, and unions more power when confronting these mammoth corporations, then the only alternative is to socialize these corporations under public ownership.

Meanwhile, The Globe and Mail reports that Boeing has so much cash that they are buying their own stock and raising dividends to its stockholders (read wage-slave holders).  

NAFTA at 20: State of the North American Worker

Click here to access article by Jeff Faux from Foreign Policy in Focus.

NAFTA was the opening fusillade in the neo-capitalist (aka neoliberal) war against workers and against national legal protections of workers which previous generations had fought for with their blood, sweat, and tears.

In this article the author gives us a kind of report card on NAFTA after 20 years of working its neoliberal policies into the web of trade in North American countries, and it looks like straight "F"s for workers and "A"s for corporations.

Faux summarizes the causalities suffered by workers in Mexico and the US in four ways. Unfortunately, his narrow focus analyses the passage of NAFTA in the US in terms of Democrats versus Republicans, but it is obvious that both played a role in its passage. Of course, this is always the case in the ongoing class war. Also, the author's liberal political perspective about improving the lot of workers limits his imagination to reforms only, and ignores the reality of a system that by their design always gives the owning class enormous advantages in the class war.

This is what happens when you outlaw peaceful protest

Click here to access article by Jerome Roos from Reflections on a Revolution.

The Spanish people are once again in the streets all over Spain protesting against the draconian new laws proposed by Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy "that would effectively ban protests near state buildings and impose hefty fines of up to 600,000 euros and even jail time on those trying to organize “unlawful” demonstrations via social media." 

Considering similar events in Egypt and efforts elsewhere to curtail mass protests, Roos sees a trend for ruling elites whose capitalist regimes have been thoroughly discredited to resort to the suspension of civil liberties and state violence to secure their rule. He argues that this trend raises a number of questions that dissenters must face in the near future.

Nelson Mandela: Eulogies of Imperialist Hypocrites & a Revolution Betrayed by Capitalism

Click here to access article by Steven Argue from Santa Cruz, California IndyMedia

Ruling class media have been working overtime to indoctrinate you in the wrong ideas about the significance of Mandela's life. In addition to a good antidote to the massive and hypocritical coverage from mainstream media, Argue also contributes a very interesting history of communist ideas and their influence on Mandela. 

Here are some more antidotes for the poison of ruling class media coverage:

The FBI’s Next Generation Identification Program: Big Brother’s ID System?

Click here to access article from Electronic Privacy Information Center (EPIC)
The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) is developing a biometric identification database program called "Next Generation Identification" (NGI). When completed, the NGI system will be the largest biometric database in the world. The program is of particular interest to EPIC because of the far-reaching implications for personal privacy and the risks of mass surveillance.

The vast majority of records contained in the NGI database will be of US citizens. The NGI biometric identifiers will include fingerprints, iris scans, DNA profiles, voice identification profiles, palm prints, and photographs. The system will include facial recognition capabilities to analyze collected images. Millions of individuals who are neither criminals nor suspects will be included in the database.

Sunday, December 15, 2013

Legion

Click here to access article posted by darbikrash from Collapse of Industrial Civilization.

The author takes us on quite a thought provoking tour beginning with a comical, moralistic rant by Rush Limbaugh, to a surprisingly radical sounding social critique from--of all people--the Pope, and ending with a thesis argued way back in 1921 that capitalism is really a religion that replaced Christianity (a belief that I have long held). Interspersed in all this are graphic displays suggesting themes of disintegration and chaos.

In Which Ignatius Does Not Understand "Hegemony"

Click here to access article by Bernhard from his blog Moon of Alabama.

This blogger exposes the blatant imperial bias of a Washington Post columnist at one of two US ruling class newspapers that function as a mouthpiece for the ruling One Percent. It is important to recognize that such expression of opinions are not merely those of the columnist, but serve notice for media executives across the country on views that are considered politically correct by the One Percent.

From Bahrain to Ukraine: Hail the Western Salesmen of Subversion and Deception

Click here to access article by Finian Cunningham from Strategic Culture Foundation

This independent Irish journalist and writer reports on last week's Manama Dialogue conference sponsored by the International Institute for Strategic Studies (IISS), a British based "think tank", which is presented at their website as a meeting to discuss regional security issues. From his report alone we can see that it is more likely an Empire conference on imperial strategy to protect the Empire's geopolitical interests. 

It seems clear from the speech given by U.S. Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel that the Empire representative wanted to reassure GCC Arab and Israeli members that the US is committed to their security interests in spite of differences that have arisen recently over Syrian, Egyptian, and Iranian issues.

In this article the author points out the hypocrisy of the members' high-sounding rhetoric given the ongoing brutal repression of dissent in Bahrain, the location of their conference, and members support of many dictatorships and terrorist groups in the region.
What a cruel joke. Western governments do not support democracy in Bahrain – or anywhere else for that matter – because they make money from oil and arms sales by supporting dictatorships, and from crushing and subverting democracy. .... Despite their polished and preening rhetoric, Washington and London are nothing but the salesmen for subversion and deception.
Saudi Arabia, a major player in the region and in attendance at the meeting, can't even tolerate people who call for a constitutional monarchy.

Rent-A-Cop: The Rise of the Mercenary Police State

Click here to access article by Don Quijones from Raging Bull-Shit.

The author shows where the logic of neo-capitalism or 21st century capitalism, better known as neoliberalism, is headed:
As the private increasingly trumps the public, and as the concerted will of the rich and powerful quashes the growing needs of the poor and powerless, the world we inhabit gradually takes on the form of a brutally cold, heartless neo-feudal system of economic and political governance.

It promises to be a world where might and money make right; where government exists merely to collect taxes and redistribute funds to banks and corporations; and where not only opportunities but also security and the protection of the law become the sole preserve of those who can afford them.