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 16, 2014
All colonial settler states are based on the violent dispossession of the native peoples – and as a result, their fundamental and overriding aim has always been to keep those native peoples as weak as possible. Israel’s aim for the Palestinians is no different.Using candid statements from Israeli sources, Glazebrook develops the thesis that the principle of "divide and conquer" has been the Zionist's major principle, if not the sole principle, guiding their actions not only toward Palestinians, but all of the neighboring countries.
Tverberg, who is a highly respected energy analyst among independent energy scientists and technologists, sums up many years of her research into these "Twelve Basic Principles". I have been following her writings for at least five years, first at the Oil Drum and now here, and cannot recall that she ever questioned the system of capitalism.
If you are not familiar with her work, you might initially get the wrong impression by her statement in the first principle: "Economic models are no longer valid, as we start getting close to limits." But it will shortly become clear that she is writing about economic models formulated by capitalist economists, not the capitalist model itself. She, like so many others has been infected by the TINA virus, and is unable to think outside the box of capitalism. However, unlike our addicted capitalist rulers, she has examined the evidence and acknowledged the realities of a finite planet, and that we humans cannot continue relying on cheap fossil fuels. Unfortunately, such thinking leads to only a "gloom and doom" scenario.
We seem now to be at risk in many ways of entering into the collapse scenario experienced by many civilizations before us.
Friday, August 15, 2014
Thus, for those like myself who have studied emerging police states, the sight of a city placed under martial law—its citizens under house arrest (officials used the Orwellian phrase “shelter in place” to describe the mandatory lockdown), military-style helicopters equipped with thermal imaging devices buzzing the skies, tanks and armored vehicles on the streets, and snipers perched on rooftops, while thousands of black-garbed police swarm the streets and SWAT teams carry out house-to-house searches—leaves us in a growing state of unease.After citing seven problematic factors that support such a police state, he concludes by writing:
Mind you, these are no longer warning signs of a steadily encroaching police state.
The police state has arrived.
Whatever the threat to so-called security—whether it’s rumored weapons of mass destruction, school shootings, or alleged acts of terrorism—it doesn’t take much for the American people to march in lockstep with the government’s dictates, even if it means submitting to martial law, having their homes searched, and being stripped of one’s constitutional rights at a moment’s notice. Americans will unfortunately march in lockstep with the police state, that is, until suddenly they are the ones being held at gunpoint, terrorized and stripped of their rights. At that point, as Ferguson makes clear, it’s almost too late to dial back the police state.I also recommend a much briefer article entitled "Solidarity with Occupied Ferguson" from War Resistors League.
This kind of major US corporate news coverage is extremely rare--in fact, I've seen nothing like it. US citizens have been bombarded with monolithic anti-Russian propaganda that resembles what occurred in Nazi Germany before their invasion of Russia and familiar to Americans during the Cold War--only the content is different and more sophisticated. The dramatic events of the Israeli massacre of Gazans, and then the US equipped Islamic jihadist threat in Iraq offer convenient distractions from the horrors of war that are being perpetrated by the US-backed Kiev government against people in the eastern provinces of Ukraine.
This independent geopolitical analyst offers his assessment of the real underlying reasons shaping recent events in Iraq and nearby areas. It's about control of oil by major Western corporations and the intolerable independent policies of the Empire-installed puppet al-Maliki.
The ousting of Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki is part of a broader US plan for Iraq and the Middle East as a whole.
Against the backdrop of the war against the Islamic State (IS, formerly ISIS/ISIL), Washington has managed to kill two birds with one stone, as the saying goes. Not only has the US removed a political leader who had proven to be problematic due to his opposition to US military presence in Iraq, as well as his staunch support for Syria and President Assad, they have also created the conditions for the dismemberment of the Iraqi state.
Just like the housing bubble of the early years of this century, the fashion for fracking is also heading towards a cliff. Once the attractive spots have been milked, production will slump and many wells will not even take off at all, following the example of Poland where drilling dozens of wells has led to nothing.These are the conclusions that an independent Irish journalist reaches regarding the much ballyhooed shale oil fracking that has produced so much oil and gas recently in the US. His article explains the reasons for this conclusion.
It’s obvious that a few years from now, fracking will be seen as this period’s equivalent of the tulip and dot-com convulsions. The environmental legacy will be felt in the US for a considerable period, but markets will, doubtlessly, swiftly move on to the next fad.
His observations correspond very well with energy analysts like Gail Tverberg whose articles I have frequently posted here for the past five years. Tverberg's views are widely respected among independent scientists and technologists. However, in contrast to her views the implications that MacDonald draws from this forecast are frivolous.
Energy is no fad. Cheap energy has made the pyramid scheme of capitalism possible in the past 300 years. With the decline of cheap fossil fuel energy, our world will change drastically. We can expect more wars--hopefully not major conflagrations--as capitalist gangs fight over the remaining sources. In addition, we can expect what we are already beginning to experience: major economic disruptions and the associated austerity policies of poverty, unemployment, police state methods deal with riots, etc. Then, of course, there is that other devil that is waiting to take humanity down--catastrophic climate destabilization caused by the excessive burning of fossil fuels to fuel capitalism's cancer-like growth.
The question for the world's Ninety-Nine Percent is: are we going to be merely passive spectators of these developments, or are we going to take action to head off the disasters that await us under capitalism? Shakespeare's soliloquy has never been more important.
To be, or not to be, that is the question—
Whether 'tis Nobler in the mind to suffer
The Slings and Arrows of outrageous Fortune,
Or to take Arms against a Sea of troubles,
And by opposing end them?
Thursday, August 14, 2014
How are we to understand this issue, and many others like the recent shooting of the unarmed African-American in a Saint Louis suburb (also see this) which are having such destructive effects on our lives, that is, the lives of the Ninety-Nine Percent in the US and throughout the world? I would like to offer what I consider to be an excellent thesis to help us understand what the Empire's One Percent are doing to us and why.
I recommend insights provided by British writers Camille Barbagallo and Nicholas Beuret in one chapter entitled "Revenge of the Remainder" (available online here) in a collection of essays in a book entitled Occupy Everything: Reflections on Why It's Kicking Off Everywhere.
Their argument essentially is that the current economy under capitalism has reached the limits of exploitable growth and simultaneously has eliminated most subsistence activities outside of the formal economy. The capitalist economy no longer needs as many people to obtain their profits under a no-growth scenario. It has created surplus people who are a problem that capitalist authorities are having to deal with. Referring to the inevitable result, they write:
Over the last 40 years the world has seen the birth of a new kind of worker--a worker bereft of work. Workers who inhabit precarity and are deemed to be superfluous to the requirement of capital.So, this begs the question: how are the political operatives of the One Percent dealing with this problem? Barbagallo and Beuret have a very interesting answer. They borrow a concept from African philosopher Achille Mmembe called "necropolitics" where death assumes an important function of elite governance. Here is an excerpt from their illuminating essay which expands on this concept and provides an answer to this question.
With a surplus population, managing death is the core concern of political activity. One of the key political tasks is allowing them to die without endangering the section of the social body that must remain productive. Surplus humanity--the bodies dwelling in slums, ghettos, refugee camps, prisons, old people's home, ..., and of course those existing in the informal economy that are beyond any utility for capital--it is these bodies that are abandoned at as little cost as possible. This is necropolitics: the politics of containment and abandonment in a world without resources beyond the market.
This practice of allowing people to "fall behind" operates through a range of practices and discourses centred on a kind of Darwinian racism: a purity of ideas perfectly matched to the rhetoric of neoliberalism and "right to be unequal" held so dear. Necropolitics operates through diffused institutions--private companies, aid and disaster relief bodies, personal militias and government agencies. It creates a series of fragmented territories that disable mobility--territories in both the physical (slums, estates and prisons) and social sense (as in the idea of hoodies or welfare cheats).
Walled off and policed, these territories are maintained separately from those spaces deemed productive. Through a permanent state of siege the borders are maintained by either postcolonial policing (racial profiling, stop and search powers, ASBOs, anti-gang activities etc.), economic exclusion (such as redlining, or lack of educational facilities) or ideological public campaigns of shame and stigmatisation (against the unemployed, the migrant, the diseased or disabled). For all the differences that exist between exclusion through ASBOs vs containment via migration regimes or precarious service industry work vs informal micro-credit debt, the underlying logic is the same: contain, fragment, isolate and abandon. Kept apart as less than fully human, as not able to contribute, as a threat and contagion, these bodies are then allowed to die. Slowly. Inch by inch. Through hunger, ill health, disaster, gang violence, poverty and disease. This is the fate outlined by capital for one third of humanity today.They end their essay with what appears to be an inevitable conclusion:
Only revenge is possible. By revenge we mean the inflicting of wounds so grave that our enemy suffers more than we do. A hatred of capital is necessary, but a rage to injure and inflict revenge from below is also required. Yet alongside this necessary violence, a process of salvage is needed. At this juncture, the question must no longer be one of better terms within a system that will only confine us to an ever-worsening condition, but one of escape. An armed escape. We must return to the fundamental question of life beyond the wage. We must seize the means of reproduction, violently, and with a hatred of a life enslaved.
The author provides quite a comprehensive study of the militarization of police agencies by providing a history of their development and their transnational operations. You may be surprised to learn in this article that police/military agencies throughout the Empire are learning and training together in order to control any opposition coming from the Ninety-Nine Percent which are often seen, and dealt with, as an enemy. Within the US, these militarized police agencies disproportionately target African-Americans and other minorities.
US police forces uphold white supremacy with their racist implementation of violence, where in places like Ogden, Utah, Black people “were 40 times more likely to be impacted by a SWAT raid than whites were,” according to the ACLU. These forces work towards the preservation of capitalism, and the police, as an institution, use elitism, violence and authoritarianism in order to preserve the state.You may also be interested in Glenn Greenwald's views on this development within the US.
The American people are now being subjected to a pro-war propaganda campaign that is quickly drawing the nation back into a war in Iraq. President Obama has become the fourth successive president to bomb Iraq. It is evident that control of Iraq has been a top priority of US foreign policy and now ISIS is the excuse for a new stage of attack. This article seeks to put the propaganda in perspective.The authors provide an antidote to the latest Empire propaganda regarding the chaos in Iraq and nearby areas by drawing on many facts largely reported in alternative media. Because the Empire has so saturated the minds of Americans with propaganda using their ubiquitous media, people in alternative media must spend an overwhelming amount of time and energy doing the work of salvaging truth from so many lies and distortions; so much so in fact that I think they have less time and energy for simply reporting the straight truth about contemporary news and issues. Unfortunately, this work is necessary, and will remain so, until most Americans become thoroughly mistrustful of the One Percent's media and government.
Americans, along with many other people in the world, will increasingly be forced to decide their own answer to the historical question: which side are you on?--the global One Percents or the global Ninety-Nine Percent.
Extreme weather like the drought currently scorching the western US and the devastating floods in Pakistan in 2010 is becoming much more common, according to new scientific research.
Wednesday, August 13, 2014
Whitney draws from several astute analyses by informed sources to build a case for the defeat of the US dollar. He seems to welcome this development along with many others like William Engdahl and Pepe Escobar which they regard as only a positive development, a "multipolar world", and don't see the risks that such a challenge to the US dollar and US hegemony entails for the world.
The attack on the petrodollar recycling system is one of many asymmetrical strategies Moscow is presently employing to discourage US aggression, to defend its sovereignty, and to promote a multi-polar world order where the rule of law prevails. The Kremlin is also pushing for institutional changes that will help to level the playing field instead of creating an unfair advantage for the richer countries like the US.While Whitney seems to trivialize this prospect by framing it as a wager, I am convinced that this challenge to the US dollar is fraught with peril. The dominance of the US dollar is one of the main foundations of Empire dominance in today's world, and Empire directors will not take this challenge lightly. Indeed, I think that there are many Empire actions in recent years that clearly indicate that they will meet this challenge very aggressively. Some of the most important are: the invasion of Iraq, the bombing of Libya and arming the opposition, the sponsorship of terrorist groups in Syria, the recent and successful sponsorship of dissident groups to violently take over the Ukrainian government, the suspicious sudden appearance of terrorist groups armed with US weapons taking over a large part of Iraq, and the economic sanctions imposed on Russia. And maybe worst of all, there has been a dramatic increase of grossly inaccurate vitriol toward Russia reflected in US mainstream media coverage which seems to be designed to prepare the American public for more aggressive actions against Russia.
As I've argued before, we have already witnessed what a multi-polar capitalist world led to in the first half of the 20th century. I don't think we want a repeat of that especially with the combatants armed with nuclear weapons! Also, global capitalist elites are beginning to realize the finite nature of the world's resources, and will likely wage a fierce struggle to gain control of what's left to exploit.The only positive solution I see is a global upheaval of the world's Ninety-Nine Percent to overturn capitalism.
This website advertizes itself as "progressive" and is a part of the liberal Institute for Policy Studies, and this article also contains content that is typical of liberal media. However, sometimes liberals stray a bit far into recognizing features of capitalism that usually go unrecognized by them and completely by mainstream media. This article illustrates this observation.
Their sub-headline, "Why does Wall Street tank on news portending economic gains for most Americans?" reveals the naivete, or deception, of liberals when confronted by obvious contradictions between the way capitalism actually functions and its self-serving propaganda. If you follow stock evaluations as I sometimes do, you will readily become aware that very frequently when corporations cut jobs, their stocks climb. Likewise, when news of wage increases, as reported in this article, increase for employees of corporations, their stock valuations decline. After all, under a capitalist system, labor costs are subtracted from profits, and profits go to the owning, and ruling, class. This is old news, but somehow these authors think it is an anomaly. Or, at least they want you to think that, as well as think that the system is only experiencing minor and temporary defects. They conclude their article with this incredible statement:
Until more U.S. political and business leaders decide they’ve had enough, this nation will become less of a democracy governed by the people and more of a plutocracy ruled by the rich.Plutocracy based industrialism, and now finance, has been firmly in place in this nation from at least 1900 after inflicting many defeats on labor organizing and the Populist movement that challenged their rule in the latter 1800s.
USA has always been a class structured society with a wealthy ruling class from its founding in 1776 by rich merchants and slave-owning large landowners like George Washington. To accelerate their wealth and power, the original ruling class, reverently referred to as "founding fathers" by mainstream institutions, had to enlist the support of small farmers and working people to fight in their war of independence from Britain whose governing class (a blend of monarchy, aristocracy, and a rising merchant and industrial class) wanted to keep the colonies as only a source of raw materials to the mother country. The US ruling class enlisted this support by proclaiming radical ideas about democracy. This is precisely why the moving Declaration of Independence differs so dramatically from the Constitution in its original form. Only later was the Bill of Rights, which the ruling class mostly ignored, tacked on to insure passage. (Please see my commentary in this 2011 post for further details.) The American ruling class has tried to maintain these democratic myths ever since; and as you can see, have been largely successful.
Any time Central American leaders sought to reduce poverty, redistribute unused lands, or tax foreign companies, the CIA removed those officials.
Tuesday, August 12, 2014
Escobar translates Empire's "Newspeak" into language that makes much more sense, and sheds light on what is really happening currently in Iraq.
Obama’s bombing of the Caliph’s goons has absolutely nothing to do with US ambassador to the UN Samantha Power’s much beloved R2P (‘responsibility to protect’) doctrine – as in the responsibility to protect up to 150,000 Yazidis, not to mention Kurds and remaining Christians, from a ‘potential’ genocide carried out by the Caliph’s goons.
The whole fighter jets + drones bombing exercise, lasting ‘months’, has to do with the Benghazi syndrome.
The author bases his article on a recent study posted behind a paywall in a journal published by the reputable Nature Publishing Group. Germanos focuses on the many underestimates of emissions previously cited by government agencies. However, I think he overlooks an important fact when he highlights a quote from an environmentalist:
"It's obvious that Keystone XL isn't going to single-handedly cause or solve climate change," Luísa Abbott Galvão, climate and energy associate at Friends of the Earth, told Common Dreams, but it speaks to what we've "called the 'Keystone principle,' which is the idea that we can't be investing in infrastructure that's going to lock in our fossil fuel reliance."That missing fact is that a capitalist economy with its growth requirement must rely on the relatively cheap source of energy provided by fossil fuels. There is no promising, alternative, cheap source of energy in sight, and capitalists see that. What they don't see, or refuse to acknowledge, is that cheaply available fossil fuels are diminishing rapidly. This fact, of course, dooms their system which lays so many of their golden eggs of power and wealth.
However, that fact which they refuse to acknowledge will doom all of us. We will be affected in the near term by more horrors of wars (as we already are) for control of diminishing supplies, and in the long-term by catastrophic climate destabilization. If we of the global Ninety-Nine Percent fail to dismantle the capitalist system and replace it with a sustainable system, we are indeed "fucked".
While Engelhardt's introduction lays appropriate stress on the US's role in creating chaos throughout the Middle East and Afghanistan, he arrives at the odd conclusion that Israel and the US have blown their chances at creating stability--as if this was ever their interest!
The vast Empire support given to the creation of Israel on Palestinian land and their continuing support ever since is obvious evidence that peace and stability never ranked high on the Empire agenda. While I think that Tolan's article accurately summarizes many of the facts leading up to the present crisis, I think that the Zionist agenda is much more than what he suggests:
...the destruction of Gazan neighborhoods and significant aspects of the area’s infrastructure should be seen as part of Israel’s larger objective: dividing Palestinians from one another and so deep-sixing the possibility of genuine self-determination. As early as 1973, Ariel Sharon, one of the founders of the Likud party and a champion of the settler movement, described his aim as putting so many settlements on the West Bank that they would become impossible to remove.I think that this, the complete cancellation of any independent Palestinian state, is only one step in a much large plan. There is strong evidence that the Zionist agenda has always been imperialist: to expand their control “from the Brook of Egypt to the Euphrates.” This objective conflates well with the Empire's desire to control the Middle East and its fossil fuel resources.
|Neo-Nazis wave their flag after capturing Ukrainian town.|
In their aims for global control, Empire directors often must recruit and use the lowest-of-the-low to facilitate their imperialist agenda, but while doing so their media must always keep such facts hidden or minimized to avoid disturbing their subjects. There has been widespread indications of neo-Nazi involvement in Ukraine, and ruling class media directors have had to exert great control to shape the developments in Ukraine to encourage maximum public support for their agenda. To do this, they often tap into the old cold-war game of blaming Russia.
The New York Times reported almost in passing on Sunday that the Ukrainian government’s offensive against ethnic Russian rebels in the east has unleashed far-right paramilitary militias that have even raised a neo-Nazi banner over the conquered town of Marinka, just west of the rebel stronghold of Donetsk.
Published last week in the prestigious international journal Nature, the study, A global ocean inventory of anthropogenic mercury based on water column measurements, revealed that levels of the environmental poison in marine waters less than 100 metres deep have more than tripled since the Industrial Revolution.
Monday, August 11, 2014
Turbeville reveals the underlying reality of the current US bombing of Iraq which exposes the deception of Obama's rhetoric regarding humanitarian concerns as just another public relations cover for war crimes. But, of course, that was why he was hired. He is very talented in delivering lies to the public. And as a extra bonus, his African-American appearance (although raised by a white banker grandmother and thoroughly indoctrinated in elite schools) provides an added layer of protection from critical liberals.
The fact is that al-Qaeda, IS, and the other related terrorist organizations function as the CIA’s Arab legion. They are used to weaken and overthrow governments as well as to act as a constant bogeyman for populations back home so that civil liberties and Constitutional rights will be sacrificed willingly for the perception of security.
When these proxy armies begin to endanger oil production or any other project of the world oligarchy, however, they are eliminated and the threat that they pose is neutralized.
Referring to the Malaysian press charges and other evidence that has been ignored, Lantier writes:
Well, of course, if one realizes that Western media are owned and controlled by the One Percent ruling class, how could one expect any different treatment of this tragedy? This is only one more indication that one must turn to independent journalists, observers, and other reliable sources for information. Kick the mainstream media habit!
The Obama administration has used the Association of South East Asian Nations (ASEAN) Regional Forum in Burma last weekend to again intensify pressure on Beijing over territorial disputes with neighbouring countries in the South China Sea.While it's easy to be distracted by all the Empire's war crimes in the Middle East and Ukraine, one should not overlook the fact that our ruling Empire directorate are preparing to confront any and all nations who stand in the way of the Empire's ruling capitalist classes in their quest for control of every valuable resource on earth, cheap labor, and control of markets.
Let us pray that they don't become so intoxicated with their addiction to power that they provoke a nuclear war. I think mankind would rather die a slow death brought on by their excessive use of fossil fuels which will inevitably result in climate destabilization.
Sunday, August 10, 2014
What I find difficult to understand is the superficial treatment that such revelations as this receive by various actors in the media, especially what passes as alternative media in the US, those involved which are members of Congress, and a prominent civil liberties advocacy organization, the ACLU. All of the above, and possibly this writer, express surprise about a CIA director lying to the Senate Select Intelligence Committee about CIA's email surveillance on members of Congress. Then we see Obama, who plays the role of Chief Executive Officer of the US to cover his real function as the ruling class's chief of public relations (CPR), expressing support for the CIA director, and wanting as usual with such disclosures of high crimes by secret agencies the need to move on:
The president’s comments about Mr. Brennan suggested that the administration was ready to put the spying matter behind it.The best that could happen with this issue, which poses a fundamental Constitutional conflict between the Executive and Congress, would be that Brennan resigns and replaced by someone else who, of course, would approve of the same actions. Thus, nothing would change except people, but at least this might be a way to salvage the reputation of Congress and the mythology of representative government. The shadow government has become so overwhelmingly powerful that I doubt that they have much concern about this incident as demonstrated by their CFR. What is more likely is that nothing will be done other than a few Congressional people crying foul.
I frequently wonder how many lies it takes for most Americans to understand the fake system of government that they allow to rule over them. Because I have been tracking official government lies since 1959 beginning with their problems with the revolutionary government of Cuba and continuing with countless number of lies since, and have studied reliable histories which have filled in the many lies and deceptions that occurred before my time, I have arrived at a very different political consciousness than have my fellow Americans.
I have easily arrived at the position that I have expressed so many times in this blog: the official organs of government are a facade behind which lie the real decision makers who are top members of the One Percent, a true ruling class whose power is based on the ownership and control of the economy, and much of the world's economy. They are now in control of an Empire which threatens to wage war, and wages war directly or indirectly against any nation or people who get in their way of global domination. They ally themselves with the most despicable governments in pursuit of their interests. They also, with their dependence on fossil fuels, and their obsession with maintaining the system of capitalism--the "goose that lays their golden eggs"--are on their way to destabilizing the climate which threatens human existence.
The ILWU, once known for its militancy and political radicalism, faces a choice between nurturing rank-and-file power and a slow, painful death.As usual there has been a mainstream media blackout on the issues affecting a number of workers in the port cities of southern Washington and northern Oregon. I only learned of it by driving through Longview, Washington a few years ago and seeing a number of signs supporting workers that were in front of working class homes. At that time I did some followup of the story in local media of the immediate area and realized how serious these issues were for thousands of working people. And now I read this.
...the International has at no time sought to mobilize the grain handler rank-and-file — the only way to amass power to win gains — but has done what it could to squelch all independent initiatives from below.It is another illustration of the diminishing power of unions to protect their workers. The writers conclude their article with this observation:
It is a mystery how the leadership believes it can continue on its present course of passively standing by as scabs do its members’ work and still prevent the PNGHA [Pacific Northwest Grain Handlers Association: four giant corporations] from permanently imposing the devastating concessions extracted by EGT [Export Grain Terminal, a giant multinational grain combine] in Longview throughout the Northwest grain export business.
Nor is it even clear at this point how the union can stop the PNGHA from...the total destruction of the ILWU’s jurisdiction in Pacific Northwest grain handling.
Millennials are over Israel: A new generation, outraged over Gaza, rejects Washington’s reflexive support
Yes, the times they are a changin', as expressed so well in the Bob Dylan song, and supported by recent polls. It appears that the neoconservative agenda as promoted by the current US ruling class will be harder to implement in the years ahead. It seems that the old propaganda infused narrative about Jewish victimization to justify Israeli war crimes and apartheid-state policies is waning among the younger generation.
I imagine that the directors of the shadow government will respond by churning out much more Zionist propaganda in media and movies.