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, February 15, 2014

New Study Shows Total North American Methane Leaks Far Worse than EPA Estimates

Click here to access article by Sharon Kelly from DeSmogBlog. 
Far more natural gas is leaking into the atmosphere nationwide than the Environmental Protection Agency currently estimates, researchers concluded after reviewing more than 200 different studies of natural gas leaks across North America.
But scientists cannot confirm where it is coming from. Why? Well, it seems that the EPA must obtain corporate driller's permission to come on their sites to make the necessary measurements!

And, there are other problems with EPA's monitoring of methane leaks.

You have to understand that government agencies function to protect the interests of corporations, not the public. This has been demonstrated time and again for numerous agencies whether the subject is climate destabilization, nuclear contamination, food safety, or banking regulations. Corporations control every component of our government from elections to the court justices to Congress to the Executive Branch to regulatory agencies. (See this, this, this. this, this, and this.)

Fracking's Terrifying Water Usage Trends Spell Disaster

Click here to access article by Jon Queally from Common Dreams. 
New study shows that fracking boom is happening in places that can least afford to lose precious water supplies

Saudi Arabia to supply Anti-Aircraft Missiles to Mercenaries in Syria

Click here to access article by Christof Lehmann from nsnbc.

Lehmann writes how the Wall Street Journal is providing propaganda cover for the step-up of Saudi supplying weapons to mercenaries in Syria to keep the destabilization efforts going as long as possible and to promote the best possible settlement for the Empire at the Geneva negotiations. No doubt that the US military-industrial complex is happy to supply these weapons via Saudi Arabia.

The Struggle of Memory Against Forgetting: “Good” War, “Bad” War

Click here to access article by John Pilger from CounterPunch.

Pilger gives some examples of historical accurate accounts of history and wars from other authors as an introduction to his review of The Korean War: A History by Bruce Cumings (2010). 

I read Cumings' earlier two volumes entitled The Origins of the Korean War which I found to be outstanding and a must-read (especially volume 1). I have not read this recent book. It appears to offer an excellent way to understand the Democratic People's Republic of Korea, one of the member nations assigned to the Axis of Evil by George Bush and continues to be considered as a pariah nation by the ruling class and their media. Referring to US bombing campaigns in the northern part of Korea, Cumings writes:
The unhindered machinery of incendiary bombing was visited on the North for three years, yielding a wasteland and a surviving mole people who had learned to love the shelter of caves, mountains, tunnels and redoubts, a subterranean world that became the basis for reconstructing a country and a memento for building a fierce hatred through the ranks of the population.

Bill Gates: Foreign Aid Works #StopTheMyth

Click here if you wish to access the original source of this 1:26m YouTube video. 

This is another contribution to my practice on Saturdays to post material about our fellow citizens of the One Percent (actually .01 of the 1%, or one out of every 10,000 of us) hoping that by doing this that we don't lose touch with their world and their concerns--you know, to promote understanding. It is important that we become better acquainted so that we can serve them better and make it easier for them to carry out the daily burden of making important decisions, decisions which affect whether we go off to war in foreign lands to kill their enemies, if we have jobs, if we live in a home or under a bridge, if we can afford their health care services, education, etc.

Unfortunately, for some reason they tend to hide their lives from the rest of us behind walls of secrecy, literal walls of guarded gated communities, private clubs, esoteric publications, by traveling with private jets, etc. We should not let that deter us.

In today's posting we learn what many of the nice rich people do with their money: they help the world's poor instead of spending all of it on yachts, castles, private jets, sports franchises, etc. In the following video our own favorite billionaire from the Seattle area proves that their tax exempt income that is donated to charitable foundations like his and Mrs. Gates has helped the world to become a better place in spite of what many of us think.


Friday, February 14, 2014

Strange Color Revolution: More ‘Gay Protests’ at Russia’s Sochi Olympics, but on what basis?

Click here to access article by Patrick Henningsen from 21st Century Wire.
Western media, LGBT activists and celebrities have also been egged-on by Obama’s White House and others – for the simple reason that their efforts dovetail with US foreign policy and European Union foreign policy to both undermine and contain Russia’s influence, particularly in relation to the Ukraine and Syria.
The author rightfully objects to the use of human rights issues to attack Russia while they are hosting the Olympics. However, his effort to explain why this is occurring includes so many explanations that the crucial one, the anti-Russian stance of the Empire, gets nearly lost in the forest of explanations. Nearly lost, but it's there in the document which he provided a link to from the Center for Strategic and International Studies, a ruling class "think" tank.

If you read it and are able to get beyond the simple-minded denials about their motivations for monitoring the 2004 election in Ukraine, you will recognize the fingerprints of a counter intelligence operation similar to the CONINTELPRO operations (although not as extreme) made famous by the FBI in the 1970s and '80s that targeted domestic groups that our ruling class masters did not like. The fact that Empire engages in subversion of governments and the engineering of protest movements (think color revolutions) around the world in pursuit of power and profit is a well established fact. (See this, this, this, this, and the resources on this website.) By attempting to explain all the motivations of the various actors in this drama, the author served to lose the essential factor at play--a propaganda campaign aimed against Russia.

You see, the end of the stunted versions of socialism (more like state capitalism) in the Soviet Union and China ended the competition of ruling class systems in favor of capitalism. However, it created another form of competition with Russian and Chinese capitalists: control of global resources, cheap labor, and markets. The demise of the non-authentic versions of socialism only resulted in putting their nations under the control of their national capitalists who refuse to defer to the diktats of the Empire. Think of street gangs who compete for dominance over petty crime operations in the neighborhoods of many US cities and you come close to understanding what occurs on the world stage. 

Of course, Empire propaganda directors are not attempting to overthrow the Russia government, but rather trying to inflict economic damage on its Olympics and to promote the discrediting of the Russian government in the eyes of Westerners. Such propaganda campaigns are a new version of the old campaigns in the Cold War--but arguably not as deadly. As a capitalist competitor, Russia is now a target for Empire propaganda to undermine its influence in the world to the advantage of the Empire's capitalist classes.

After Yugoslavia, Ukraine?

Click here to access article by Thierry Meyssan from VoltaireNet.

This post follows very nicely from the above post and much of my commentary from that post applies to this. In this article we see that Empire directors have no compunctions about using neo-Nazi groups to promote their aims.
Public opinion in Western Europe is wrong to regard the Ukrainian crisis as a showdown between Westerners and Russians. In reality, Washington’s goal is not to push the country into the arms of the European Union, but to deprive Russia of its historical partners. To do this, the United States is prepared to ignite a new civil war on the continent.

Corporate Media’s Dubious Syria Coverage

Click here to access article by James F. Tracy from Memory Hole.

If you are new to this blog or have not been following alternative sources of information regarding Middle East affairs, then you can benefit from reading this article which alerts you to one more example of Empire management of information in their pursuit of power and profits.
Western news media reportage on the rampant criminal activities of foreign-backed paramilitary groups operating within Syria still relies heavily on unreliable sources frequently referred to as “activists.” Such spokespersons routinely claim the Syrian military are committing atrocities against the Syrian population. 

Thursday, February 13, 2014

Western media waging psychological war in Syria

Click here to access article by Catherine Shakdam from Another World Is Possible.

The author exposes so much of Empire's hypocritical propaganda while promoting terrorism to destabilize Syria.
While no one is denying that horrors have been committed in Syria, one can too easily fall into the trap set by Western narratives, by only looking through their distorted lenses and thus forget that Syria is fighting internationally sponsored terrorism.

Corporatocracy: How the Corporate Welfare State Divides & Conquers

Click here if you wish to access the original posting on Boiling Frogs Post. 

Of course, every ruling class has used divide and conquer strategies to prevent any organized opposition from removing them from power. The 14:05m video below briefly describes such strategies in the current US scene and offers some some simple suggestions on how to approach non-politically conscious people and engage them in an effort to raise their political consciousness and thereby promote a more cohesive opposition in the US.

Divergence at the top – the 0.01%

Click here to access article by David Ruccio from Real-World Economics Review Blog.

This chart portrays graphically the natural tendency of the capitalist system toward concentration of wealth by the few. While viewing it, one should keep in mind that especially under capitalism, wealth=power. It also shows that neoliberalist policies made possible by dramatic advances in technology, all of which has come under the "ownership" of the capitalist class, have added steroids to this natural tendency. 

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

The Smog of Fraud

Click here to access article by James Howard Kunster from his blog.

This is an excellent example of middle class type of criticism of the Obama administration that I referred to in my recent post. Yes, it does reveal to us some important aspects of the existing capitalist system, but it also avoids questioning the system itself and one of the basic flaws of the system--class war that is widening the gap between the capitalist rich and everyone else. Instead, he initially points his finger at the "Obama team" and then mentions bankers and accountants, but mostly seems to suggest that "everybody" is in on it. Somehow there is fraud everywhere and no one or no thing is to blame. Thus, there apparently is nothing to be done. (To be fair, I haven't read much of his other works. I'm just basing my comments on this article.)
Everybody knows this now and everybody is trying desperately to work around it, led by the Federal Reserve. Trust is gone and credit is going and debt is sitting between a rock and a hard place with its grubby hands pressed together, praying that it will be forgiven, forgotten, or overlooked a little while longer.
Kunstler is a peak oil advocate who sees that diminishing fossil fuels will require us to live in more fossil free societies by arguing that 'there is no other alternative energy source on the horizon that can replace relatively cheap oil. He therefore envisions a "low energy" world that will be radically different from today's.' (I agree, but strangely I find no evidence that he is concerned about the other threat coming from global warming which I think will affect us earlier.)

He doesn't see that development of capitalism has inevitably resulted in a few winners among vast numbers of losers. To keep the system going requires ever more lending from the first group to the second which, of course, cannot go on forever. But, he doesn't see this as an inevitable consequence of a flaw in the system. He does see that, as a consequence, capitalists must now engage in all kinds of fraudulent activities to accumulate more wealth. To this he just throws up his hands and implies that everyone is doing it--apparently it's just human nature to be wicked or that people aren't as smart as he is by choosing to live more simply. People following his advice might end up feeling morally and intellectually superior, but they would change nothing.

Greenwald and the limits of billionaire journalism

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

In this posting Roos describes a new billionaire backed venture led by Greenwald which I think offers another illustration of middle-class liberal type of a political critique and activity that I discussed in a recent post. Liberals like Greenwald function on the edge of criticism that the ruling class tolerates. Such critiques serve the system and its ruling class by co-opting serious critics and diverting their attention away from the capitalist system itself and onto moral issues. Such people are often referred to as "gatekeepers".

Roos is far more sympathetic to Greenwald and his associates than I am. He merely sees them as misguided, whereas I see them likely serving consciously as gatekeepers for the ruling class. (See this, this, and this.)

Creditocracy: making the case for debt refusal

Click here to access article by Hollis Phelps from Reflections on a Revolution.

The views expressed in this article furnish another illustration of a middle-class liberal critique of one aspect of capitalism, however it is framed as a radical critique. Phelps discusses the recent book by Professor Andrew Ross entitled Creditocracy and the Case for Debt Refusal. 
Ross is...mindful of Marx’s dictum in his Theses on Feuerbach that the point of criticism and analysis is not simply to interpret the world but to change it. Ross thus considers his analysis as a necessary means to an end: to make a moral case to his readers for collective debt resistance.
As the title suggests, Ross identifies the system as "creditocracy"--not capitalism as you may have thought--and the problem is illegitimate debt from creditors. Thus, the solution is resistance to such debt. In his way of thinking, the rule of creditors of such debt is a threat to an existing democracy.
In his latest book, Creditocracy, scholar-activist Andrew Ross makes a compelling case for debt refusal as “a protective deed on behalf of democracy”.
By framing the system as creditocracy and the means of its resistance as debt resistance will do very little in overturning the system of capitalism. And, of course, real democracy does not and cannot exist in a class-structured society regardless of debt. It is surprising to find this sort of analysis on a website that purports to be revolutionary.

Last year, the oceans warmed at a rate of 12 Hiroshima bombs per second

Click here to access article by Lindsay Abrams from Salon.

When you hear climate skeptics talking about a “pause” in global warming, that’s where the heat is going — 378 million atomic bombs worth of it each year. And as Quartz points out, it’s not like the oceans are just storing all that heat for us and protecting us from the effects of climate change: warmer oceans mean more severe typhoons and hurricanes, rising sea levels and damage to marine life.

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Audacity, not hoping for reforms, the route to a humane world

Click here to access article by Pete Dolack from Systemic Disorder.  

Dolack provides an introduction to, and a commentary on, a recently published book by Samir Amin entitled The Implosion of Contemporary Capitalism. 

Based on this I have just purchased the book because it explicates theses with which I very much agree: it is imperative for our survival that capitalism must be overturned, that capitalist enterprises must be brought under democratic ownership and control, and that this must be done at a global level uniting all workers in this common project for their common survival. Time is fast disappearing when this sort of transformation is even possible. I already think it is improbable, that is, that this type of transformation is not likely to happen. What is more probable is the devolution of capitalism into a hideous dystopia and ultimately humans will disappear from the Earth. But, one thing is certain: if we do nothing then the latter development is certain.
There is no guarantee as to what will succeed capitalism. We can sit back and let history unfold, continuing to cede the initiative to elites who have imposed austerity on the world and can only offer ever more harsh and repressive policies while consuming the Earth’s resources until nothing is left. Or we can collectively work together to create a humane, democratic future by overturning capitalism. If we don’t accomplish the latter, we will surely find ourselves in the hell of the former.
But, before humanity can muster sufficient audacity to make transformation happen, people will need to be informed. Thus, it is on the battlefield of ideas that this struggle will need to be waged first until we have sufficient people resources to bring about the final transformation. Systemic Disorder is another website devoted to this battle.

Monday, February 10, 2014

TPP + TTIP = A One-Way Ticket To Corporate Paradise

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

I think that it is critically important to separate two forms of criticism of the capitalist system. This is because so much of the content on the internet and elsewhere are from sources who often make very cogent arguments about the flaws of the system, but they fundamentally are believers in the system. They only want a kinder, gentler form of capitalism. They believe that it is possible to reform the system so that this comes about. Such people are often referred to as liberals. 

In contrast to these people there are others, who are far fewer in number and get even less attention proportionately on the internet. They see the system as inherently flawed and believe that the only solution is to abolish the system and construct another. Such people are referred to by a number of names--many of which are derogatory. I will call them radicals.

This blogger is a liberal who has posted a lot of content that has exposed dramatically the flaws of the system. Because of this, I often post his articles on my website. But now in this commentary I want to offer an argument that explains the reasons that this blogger and all liberals cling to this reformist position. Once again, I find that the best argument uses a class analysis.

The best example that I have seen of the liberal critique has been explicated in a video (also a book) promoted by Renegade Economist with script written by economist Michael Harrington called Four Horsemen. The video is informed by 27 principles which is published on their website and the title suggests its emphasis: the four horseman are war, conquest, famine, and death. The video argues that if the system isn't reformed that our world will descend into this type of dystopia. The video and the website occasionally makes passing reference to sustainability, but I never found that their meaning had anything to do with our biosphere. However, the video's content provides excellent reasons for concern about the social effects of the present course of the system which is summarized by the metaphor of the four horsemen.

There are several prominent economists who endorse this video and they are listed at the end of the video: Joseph Stiglitz, Herman Daly, Ha-Joon Chang, Michael Hudson, and other non-economists who are well-known and some lesser known critics of capitalism. All of them are archetypes of middle-class people. They, and the entire middle class, have been instrumental in making the capitalist system function. 

All have been through a long education in which an important component was indoctrination in the virtues of capitalism. They, except for Noam Chomsky, still cling firmly to the virtues of the system which their education taught them, probably much more so than their capitalist masters who are composed of cynical sociopaths or of the willfully ignorant. And, of course, the privileged status and higher income of the middle class has reinforced their faith in the system. But now, with the introduction of sophisticated computer and other technologies in the past decade, they have seen their numbers rapidly diminishing as well as their influence as a class. And, they correctly see the devastating social consequences if their capitalist masters continue down the neoliberal road. However, they don't see the damage to the ecosystem that the system by necessity inflicts--that would be an inconvenient truth.

This posting and the 12:51m video featuring Max Keiser interviewing a member of Stop TPP is another excellent illustration of this liberal position. Keiser elsewhere has clearly established that he is a capitalist (see his statement at 1:27:20 in the Four Horsemen video). RT on which Keiser has his program is sponsored by the Russian government which is capitalist. The blogger, in his brief introduction to the interview, makes a typical liberal implication (framed in sarcasm) that the capitalism we had previously was just fine--and, of course, it was for this class, but it never was for working people. For them, it has always been a disaster.
...we can bid farewell to nation-state democracy (it was nice while it lasted), and give a nice, warm welcome to the new age of global corporatocracy!  [my emphasis]
"Nation-state democracy" is a liberal way of describing capitalism before this neoliberal version took over. As we see, in a liberal's eyes this previous society was a democracy--this, of course, reflects the ideology they learned in their long years of schooling.

The trillion dollar road to Armageddon

Click here to access article by Ira Helfand and Robert Dodge from Common Dreams.'

The authors expose the obvious hypocrisy of the nuclear armed countries. On the other hand, I'm not so sure that the dismantling of nuclear weapons by these countries would assure peace. Was there peace before nuclear weapons? There is really something very true about Mutually Assured Destruction (MAD). The real and only solution, of course, is the elimination of the predatory system of capitalism which make wars inevitable.

Sunday, February 9, 2014

Stephanie McMillan’s ‘Capitalism Must Die’

Click here to access article posted by xraymike79 from Collapse of Industrial Civilization.

The author puts together a lot of the work by McMillan to elucidate her work and views about capitalism. I haven't had time to explore everything in this piece; but having listened to one third of the first video interview with Derrick Jensen, she clearly understands the system and clearly explains in common sense terms how it works. 

“Collective nervous breakdown” rocks Bosnia

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

Read about another casualty of the Empire's neoliberal agenda for the world.
“He who sows hunger reaps anger,” warned the red graffiti on a Sarajevo government building this week. The message hinted at the depth of poverty and disillusionment in Bosnia and Herzegovina (BiH) that has driven people to join demonstrations across the divided country, where the unemployment rate is about 40 percent.
Also, this piece from the same website describes the same situation by another author.

For history on Empire's planned and executed dissolution of the former Yugoslavia, I recommend this article.

Sochi: bringing Olympic spirit back to the Games

Click here to access article from Oriental Review.

I have never seen such obvious and outrageous anti-Russian bias of a sports event in my life as I've witnessed from viewing corporate TV media coverage of the Olympics in Sochi--not only NBC's--in the past few weeks. Because this bias is seen everywhere in corporate media, I've, once again, wondered how this actually happens. Does some centralized Directorate of Information issue statements to all media outlets to cover certain new items in a particular way? Or do prominent ruling class media such as the New York Times or the Washington Post set the framing of the coverage and all other major news outlets are expected to follow? Or might it be that all media executives have already been well indoctrinated by their various ruling class organizations of which they are members? Or some combination of the above?

It seems that all news items in the run-up to the Olympics have been wrapped in comments about gay oppression in Russia, the terrorist threat at the games, incomplete construction of Olympic facilities, and many other such negative items. I've been waiting for liberal commentators in this country to criticize such practice, but this morning I found little except for a handful: Bernhard's excellent piece entitled "NYT Selectively Quotes To Denigrate Russian Olympics", Lendman's piece, and a more oblique critique from The Greanville Post

Updated at 1 PM: So, what has this to do with capitalism? I think that capitalism is a highly competitive and predatory system in which capitalists, the owners of economic property, combine to compete for resources and cheap labor in the pursuit of profits and power. Russia and China, although now ruled by their own capitalist classes, refuse to take orders from the US led Empire, much like Germany's capitalitsts refused to submit to the leadership of the English Empire which resulted in WWI and then competed with the Anglo-American Empire which resulted in WWII. Thus, Russian and Chinese capitalists are now our ruling class's enemies, and our ruling class makes sure that we, the people in the US, feel that they are our enemies also. Then there are the smaller countries that have defied the US and have suffered in recent times the "outrageous slings and arrows" of US propaganda, subversive actions, and worse: Cuba, Venezuela, Iran, North Korea, Libya, and Syria.