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 13, 2014

The Koch Brothers’ Governors: Butlers Selling the Public’s Silver

Click here to access article by Jeffrey Sommers and Michael Hudson from CounterPunch.
 The Koch Brothers are the closest thing the United States has to Russia’s oligarchs. They fuse ownership of the economy and state, using the latter to enrich themselves while making private gains through the public’s losses. Their idea of a “market economy” is to buy government officials and the assets they privatize at giveaway prices.
The authors ridicule the Koch brothers who hire state governors much like they do butlers. Why pick on the Koch brothers? They are only doing what their fellow class members of the One Percent are doing all the time--just doing it more honestly. After all their ancestors designed our political institutions and succeeding generations of the One Percent have only added improvements to better serve them. And, what is wrong with "selling the public's silver" for any capitalist ruling class? They are only practicing the capitalist religion and its fundamental tenet so well expressed by Margaret Thatcher:
...there's no such thing as society. There are individual men and women and there are families. And no government can do anything except through people, and people must look after themselves first.
It appears that liberals like these two well-educated authors suffer from brainwashing by having spent so much time in educational institutions. Indoctrination is an essential function of the One Percent's educational institutions to secure their class rule. If you, like them, have been taught to worship at the church of capitalism, you must accept its consequences--or find another faith. Personally, I disavowed this religion long ago after coming to the realization that we as humans depend so much on societies for our health and happiness, and that we depend on our planet's limited environment to supply us with our material needs. We must carefully nurture our societies and respect the finite limitations of our planet if we are to survive, and hopefully even flourish.

The new conquistadors making their presence felt at COP20 in Peru

Click here to access article from Corporate Europe Observatory.

A UN conference is expected to wrap up today in Lima, Peru, and its task is to come up with a first draft of a climate treaty to be negotiated in Paris in 2015. From National Geographic we learn:
Negotiations are expected to conclude by Saturday, and the draft agreement will continue to evolve until it's offered up as an international treaty in December 2015, when world leaders are expected to gather in Paris in an attempt at a global climate deal.
This brief article serves as an introduction to, and summary of, a 28 page paper entitled "Corporate Conquistadors: the many ways multinationals both drive and profit from climate destruction".
A new report released at COP20 by CEO, the Democracy Center and Transnational Institute shows how corporations causing social and environmental destruction in the Andes and Amazon are driving climate change, whilst enjoying influential seats at the climate-negotiating table.  

Finding Positive Meaning In End Times

Click here to access article by Roger Boyd from his blog Humanity's Test.

I could really empathize with the thoughts and feelings expressed in this piece. Referring to a "dark friend that sometimes recedes and sometimes bursts wholesale into my consciousness", he writes:
Grief for a world that currently exists, but is being slowly destroyed as I look on, and will not be there for younger generations.
However, it is clear that he does not let himself succumb to apathy and depression. He is still looking for ways to prevent such a dystopia.

Citigroup to Move Headquarters to U.S. Capitol Building

Click here to access article by Andy Borowitz from The New Yorker. (satire)
Explaining the rationale behind the move, Klugian [Citigroup spokesperson] told reporters, “Instead of constantly flying out from New York to give members of Congress their marching orders, Citigroup executives can be right on the floor with them, handing them legislation and telling them how to vote. This is going to result in tremendous cost savings going forward.”

Native American Council Offers Amnesty to 220 Million Undocumented Whites

Click here to access article from The Daily Current. (parody) 
A council of Native American leaders has offered partial amnesty to the estimated 220 million illegal white immigrants living in the United States.

Friday, December 12, 2014

Torture, police killings and the militarization of America

Click here to access article by Bill Van Auken from World Socialist Web Site.

Auken sees that the 9/11 event has been used to reveal the iron fist of capitalism's worst manifestation--fascist rule.
It was Cofer Black, the former director of the CIA’s Counterterrorism Center, who told an approving congressional committee in 2002 that “there was ‘before 9/11 and after 9/11.’ After 9/11 the gloves came off.”

The phrase, conjuring up the image of a bare-knuckled brawl, became a favorite cliché within both the Bush White House and the US military command. It was translated into far more gruesome forms of violence, ranging from waterboarding to hanging people from manacles and “rectal hydration.”

But the “gloves” that were taken off had more far-reaching implications. They involved dispensing with any adherence to the US Constitution, the Geneva Conventions or other bodies of domestic and international law.
See also an article entitled "Brazilian Commission Report Details Murder and Torture by US-backed Dictatorship" from Libya 360°

The Establishment: And how they get away with it

Click here to access article by Sean Ledwith from CounterFire (Britain). 

In this critical review of a new book by Owen Jones, Ledwith reminds us that it's the economic system not individuals that is the problem. Although the book is about the British establishment, essentially the same dynamics of capitalist power apply in the US. After WWII they and vengeful Zionist agents combined to form a rampaging empire.
Owen Jones’ The Establishment is a valuable dissection of the networks of power and ideology, but the concept of the ruling [capitalist] class adds a needed dimension, argues Sean Ledwith.

Is Kaliningrad NATO’s Real Target?

Click here to access article by Diana Johnstone from CounterPunch.

Could we be seeing a preparation for a new "Pearl Harbor" event like 9/11 that served our ruling class so well to justify the invasion of Afghanistan and Iraq along with the Patriot Acts and all the rest of the police state apparatus we are now faced with? Johnstone looks at the evidence and warns us that we could see another false-flag event to justify the invasion of a Russian enclave. Remember how the Nazi capitalists used the Gleiwitz incident to invade Poland which started WWII?

...examine a map of the Baltic. There, very discretely, lies Kaliningrad. A small enclave of half a million people belonging to Russia.  It used to be Königsburg, a part of Germany, lost in the Second World War. Wedged between Poland and Lithuania, it is already hit by damage to its trade with the E.U. resulting from U.S.-imposed sanctions. The prospect of recuperating Kaliningrad/Königsberg through some manipulated incident could be a factor in the present official German anti-Russian position, which goes against German economic interests and about half of German public opinion.

A war to conquer Kaliningrad would be started by some contrived “international crisis” to “respond” to.

FRACKING AMERICA: Visualizing the Virus (Is it Worth It?)

Click here if you wish to access the original post from the Post Carbon Institute

If you have any doubts about the extravagant claims emanating from corporate media about the oil bonanza from shale fracking, then regard this 1:44m video as only an introduction to a wealth of information from shalebubble.org. These wild claims are another manifestation of the delusional thinking of ruling capitalist elites whose system requires constant growth to exist. 

Those who are so thoroughly addicted to the power and wealth supplied by their suicidal system of capitalism will not hesitate to secure their fixes regardless of the catastrophic effects these operations will have on our climate, the environment, and us. Those of us in the Ninety-Nine Percent and others in the One Percent who are not yet hopelessly addicted must become informed on this issue simply because the future of succeeding generations of our species is at stake--which happen to be your children, grandchildren, etc.


Thursday, December 11, 2014

They Knew It Was Illegal

Click here to access article by John Sifton from Just Security.
...the most important revelation in the report [Senate Intelligence Committee report on CIA torture] is not about the torture itself but rather about the legal culpability of the CIA. The report contains a key passage on page 33 revealing that senior lawyers at the CIA in mid 2002, at the very beginning of the CIA’s program, drafted a letter to the Attorney General in which it is expressly acknowledged that the interrogation tactics that came to be known as “enhanced interrogation techniques” violated the US torture statute. The draft letter requested that the Attorney General provide the CIA with “a formal declination of prosecution, in advance”—basically, a promise not to prosecute, or immunity. The document was shared even with CIA interrogators involved in the nascent program. From the beginning, in other words, key CIA officials were well aware that these techniques were clearly unlawful.
People need to understand that in any class-structured society, the ruling class is essentially above the law, unless a member (such as Bernie Madoff) does harm to other members of the ruling class. Of course, for public consumption they use any method they can to cover their law-breaking with some patina of legality such as a "formal declination of prosecution". In the end the prosecution of law-breakers only applies to us who lie below the ruling class; and the more below we lie, the more prosecution we experience. In other words, the "rule of law" only applies to us, the Ninety-Nine Percent, to insure that we behave according the laws of the ruling class.

A Speech For Our Time

Click here if you wish to access this 3:37m video from the original posting by Don Quijones of Raging Bull-Shit.

The video is an excerpt from "The Great Dictator" film by Charles Chaplin. Quijones writes as an introduction:
In this topsy-turvy world where leadership is treated and studied as a science but good leaders are thinner on the ground than ever before, perhaps it’s only fitting that one of the great speeches for our time was written long before our time. Seventy-two years ago, to be precise, during one of humanity’s darkest moments – the Second World War – and, what’s more, by one of history’s greatest comic geniuses.


Remember this was during a time before WWII when Anglo-American ruling classes had such mixed feelings about their support of Nazis (for more details, read my commentary here). After all, the Nazis were vigorously moving against organized labor and had plans to convert that heretical nation, the Soviet Union, into Nazi "lebensraum". Despite the enormous popularity of Chaplin's performances, ruling class media and enforcement agencies immediately started attacking him with smear campaigns and legal charges. As a result, he fled to Switzerland. This is how a rather conservative entry in Wikipedia describes it:
The Great Dictator spent a year in production, and was released in October 1940. There was a vast amount of publicity around the film, with a critic for the New York Times calling it "the most eagerly awaited picture of the year", and it was one of the biggest money-makers of the era. The ending was unpopular, however, and generated controversy. Chaplin concluded the film with a six-minute speech in which he looked into the camera and professed his personal beliefs. Charles J. Maland has identified this overt preaching as triggering a decline in Chaplin's popularity, and writes, "Henceforth, no movie fan would ever be able to separate the dimension of politics from [his] star image". The Great Dictator received five Academy Award nominations, including Best Picture, Best Original Screenplay and Best Actor.

In the mid-1940s, Chaplin was involved in a series of trials that occupied most of his time and significantly affected his public image. The troubles stemmed from his affair with an aspirant actress named Joan Barry, with whom he was involved intermittently between June 1941 and the autumn of 1942. Barry, who displayed obsessive behaviour and was twice arrested after they separated, reappeared the following year and announced that she was pregnant with Chaplin's child. As Chaplin denied the claim, Barry filed a paternity suit against him.

The director of the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), J. Edgar Hoover, who had long been suspicious of Chaplin's political leanings, used the opportunity to generate negative publicity around him. As part of a smear campaign to damage Chaplin's image, the FBI named him in four indictments related to the Barry case. Most serious of these was an alleged violation of the Mann Act, which prohibits the transportation of women across state boundaries for sexual purposes. The historian Otto Friedrich has called this an "absurd prosecution" of an "ancient statute", yet if Chaplin was found guilty, he faced 23 years in jail. Three charges lacked sufficient evidence to proceed to court, but the Mann Act trial began in March 1944. Chaplin was acquitted two weeks later. The case was frequently headline news, with Newsweek calling it the "biggest public relations scandal since the Fatty Arbuckle murder trial in 1921."
This stirring video excerpt inspired me to think how life could be in a post-capitalist society. One benefit is clear to me. With all the labor saving devices we have created and without being forced to produce all kinds of junk we don't need, we would have so much time to devote to our families and others, to our education, and to restore to health the damage their capitalist system has done to the environment. 

Production for our capitalist masters has been used to accumulate wealth and, most especially,  power over us for the benefit of these tiny ruling classes. Naturally, what has followed in the wake of their rule has been endless wars, widespread poverty, periodic collapses of our economies, all sorts of social problems, and extensive damage to our ecosystem. If we could replace their obsessive production with our production for actual human needs, we would enjoy so much real abundance in our daily lives.

Is Russell Brand right, do we need a revolution?

Click here to access article by Dan Poulton from CounterFire (Britain).

I was pleasantly surprised to find this in a British website which I've always regarded as politically soft left-wing. Maybe its an encouraging sign that "the times they are a changin'".
If we want to end a system based on violence, the capitalist system, we need to organise the struggle on a mass basis and never surrender our self-activity in the name of 'peace', 'law and order' and all the other false friends of progress. To throw away the gains of a revolution because of a moral injunction against violence would be in itself immoral.

Russell Brand is unique in that here is a celebrity who openly proselytizes for system change.
Poulton notes that views like this "...explains the otherwise baffling fury and derision with which Brand is met, even from the liberal media like the Guardian and the Independent."

Censhorship and Detention in Egypt, a personal account

Click here to access the introduction to an article from Jadaliyya.

I was impressed by the enormous difficulties faced by an activist in Egypt, one of the favorite dictatorships of the Empire in the Middle East. If you think activists in the US face difficulties, read this introduction. (I didn't listen to the interview or read the transcript of the interview with the Egyptian activist, Alaa Abd El Fattah.)
Alaa Abd El Fattah is a writer, programmer, community organizer and activist who constantly generates new meanings to the notion of activism. 

Subjugating Arab World: Top NATO Body In Jordan

Click here to access NATO article posted by Rick Rozoff from Stop NATO.

As an introduction to the NATO article, Rozoff writes:
NATO has already identified Libya as a future member of the Mediterranean Dialogue with, if the West and its Persian Gulf allies succeed in their designs to overthrow the government of Syria, that country and Lebanon to follow, thereby making the entire Mediterranean Sea Basin NATO’s uncontested territory.

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Are we ready for the twilight of neoliberalism?

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

Dolack introduces and reviews a new book entitled We Make Our Own History: Marxism and Social Movements in the Twilight of Neoliberalism by professors Laurence Cox and Alf Gunvald Nilsen. Although the professors use academic language, which is to be expected, they demonstrate an accurate knowledge of what is needed by the Ninety-Nine Percent to deliver them from the evil of capitalist assaults on the world's working people and the environment. It appears to me that they have much to contribute to the advance of a people's movement grounded thoroughly in the grassroots, and one capable of overthrowing the disastrous rule of a tiny, advantaged segment of people known as capitalists. For example, Dolack writes:
Learning from one another, not blindly following

How then will this logjam be broken? As no movement, organization or leader has a monopoly of ideas, Professors Cox and Nilsen envision a “movement of movements”: The coming together of independent movements without the intention of submitting to the leadership of any single party or of privileging narrow definitions of working class interests. This necessitates not only learning from one another to increase the body of knowledge that can be drawn upon but also learning from the past. It also stresses the full incorporation of struggles against racism, sexism and all other forms of oppression.

Some Torture Facts: Revelations from the Recent SSCI Report on the CIA Detention and Interrogation Program

Click here to access article by Marcy Wheeler via Jadaliyya. (Note: I am making an exception to my rule that posting of articles must be from their primary websites. In this case Wheeler's posting appears to assume an audience who are well-informed of her previous work. Jadaliyya's editors fill in a lot of the background information and Wheeler's use of abbreviations to make the article much clearer.)

Wheeler and Jadaliyya should be congratulated for posting this article which exposes so many lies, both past and present, to understand how real "evil-doers" in our ruling class were allowed to use torture in our "land of the free, and the home of the brave." 

The post also provides more evidence that our official government institutions are controlled by a hidden government which, as I have frequently argued, is controlled by the highest levels of the ruling capitalist class. The Senate committee's report on torture only came about because more sensitive collaborating liberal members in the official government (like other liberals who find torture and war crimes repugnant) found the use of torture too much for them to tolerate. Nevertheless, it's clear that they went out of their way to assure members of the hidden government that they will fully cooperate to see that no legal actions are taken against anyone for these criminal actions. However, it must be admitted that this "cooperation" was not only from their common class interests, but out of fear of the people who, after all, murdered President John Kennedy, his brother Robert, and Martin Luther King among others.

Self Defense for Radicals

Click here to access article by Mickey Z. from World News Trust.

I love this short video because it cuts through all the crap we activists in the US have been indoctrinated to believe: non-violence is the highest virtue that activists should strive for (of course, this doesn't apply to other Americans, most especially to ruling class enforcers),  voting for a candidate supplied by the ruling class can really change things, and such actions as holding a candle-light vigil are most appropriate when confronted with threats to our lives. 

It's obvious why we have been indoctrinated to believe these things: the ruling class fears violence, which they continually use against others, being used against them. This is definitely not to argue that violence is the first or best choice in all situations, but we must recognize that there are circumstances which make it a necessary response. We must be prepared to use it when circumstances justify its use. The right to use violence to defend oneself, or our family, friends, and neighbors, or any human being that is incapable of defending themselves from violence is an absolute human right.


Tuesday, December 9, 2014

The CIA torture report and the crisis of legitimacy in the United States

Click here to access article by Tom Carter from The Greanville Post.

(This posting actually contains two articles, one by Carter who usually writes for World Socialist Web Site and the other by Ackerman who writes for The Guardian. I much prefer Carter's because it deals with much wider political implications, while Ackerman's writing for The Guardian is understandably much narrower.)

The long delayed "torture report" by the Senate Intelligence committee chaired by Feinstein was released today. To be clear, it is not the entire report of 6200 pages, but a 500 page heavily redacted summary of it. Although it was completed in December 2012, it was delayed obviously because of the threat it poses for the legitimacy of the ruling class government. While the rough details have leaked out long ago and are widely known about CIA torture, this is an official recognition that is likely to have even more of an impact on those who like to believe in fairy tale governments and believe everything they read or see in mainstream media. Of course, this is the main concern of our ruling masters. They still depend on the gullible to support their fake democracy; however if they lose this support, they will not hesitate to bring their well developed police state apparatus into operation--or at least, they will attempt to do so.

Enough of my comments--please read Carter's outstanding essay.
The implications for American imperialist foreign policy are obvious. The government of the United States asserts the power to invade, bomb and carry out “humanitarian intervention” and “regime-change” anywhere in the world in the name of protecting “human rights.” Meanwhile, top military, civilian and intelligence officials of that same country are implicated in the gravest violations of human rights, as well as in conspiracies to cover up those crimes—and nobody has been held accountable. 
And, I must add, nobody will be held accountable. No enforcers of class rule is ever held accountable as we have recently seen domestically with the murder and assaults on African-Americans.

Treasury Warns Congress (and Investors): This Financial Creature Could Sink the System

Click here to access article by Wolf Richter from Wolf Street.

I'm a bit out of my league when it comes to the endless gambling methods that capitalists have created to accumulate ever more wealth and power. And, I have lingering doubts about Richter's judgement after gleaning from his articles that he seems to be a "goldbug", and I regard gold as an archaic fetish. But, assuming his data are correct, this article made sense to me. Then I checked with "Yves Smith's" blog and found that she had posted this same article at the top of her list today. Because I have a lot of respect for her analysis of financial issues and for her integrity, I decided to post this article.

According to Richter's data and analysis, the banks are once again gambling on loans which they package together and refer to them with the fancy name "Collateralized Loan Obligations" and sell them apparently to gullible investors. This time the loans consist of what he describes as "leveraged loans...issued by junk-rated corporations already burdened by a large load of debt." He has come up with data that suggests the banks have blown an even bigger bubble than what they did with the mortgage scam and thereby threatening another collapse of their capitalist economy.

The Corporate Lobby Tour

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

Thanks, once again, to "Don Quijones" for posting this 10:24m video explaining basically how the centralized government of the European Union actually works. What a marvelous coincidence--it looks like it functions just like our government here in the US! (sarcasm) Of course, it is no coincidence. 

The European Union was constructed by US capitalists with their British counterparts and a few other European capitalists after what was left of Europe following WWII. These people made certain that no one interfered with their plans (Operation Gladio) to build what has now become an Empire complete with its own army called NATO. And now the capitalist army is on the march to the east much like Nazi Germany before and during WWII. (I'm sure this is just another coincidence.) If you have any doubts about their intentions, see this, this, and this.

Anyway, back to the video. I have only one criticism of it. Towards the end the narrator implies that the simple solution is for ordinary Europeans to speak up. I'm afraid this is very naive. This advice is at least 25 years too late. It will take a lot more to change things...something like a revolution.

 

Israel’s Secret Plan for a "Second Israel" in Ukraine

Click here to access article by Wayne Madsen from Strategic Culture Foundation.

By following Israeli media, Madsen has come upon a rather surprising discovery pertaining to Zionist machinations involving Ukraine. To me, it reflects the deep racist thinking of at least some Zionists and reminds me so much of the Nazi proclivity to see German identity in racist terms--remember the Aryans?
...some Zionists see in Ukraine a possible second Israel. 

Monday, December 8, 2014

Slain MassMutual Executive Held Wall Street “Trade Secrets”

Click here to access article by Pam Martens and Russ Martens from Wall Street on Parade.

It seems absolutely amazing to me that capitalists have created so many betting opportunities in their capitalist casino. The Martens in this piece have just come up with another one that appears so bizarre that it is hard to imagine being tolerated in a civilized society. I'm referring to Bank-Owned Life Insurance policies that they take out on their workers. It seems that with the number of deaths of bank employees that banks are making a "killing" (excuse the pun) from this tax exempt income. While trying to get information about this scam through the Freedom of Information Act, the Martens were told that it's a secret!

Deception and Democracy: Convincing the Masses to Help the Rich

Click here to access article by Asad Zaman from World Economics Association.

By reviewing the history of government bailouts of the banks, Zaman examines the use of deceptive propaganda to manage the consent of the Ninety-Nine Percent. Although his point is well taken, I think he overstates the use of only one weapon that our ruling masters use against us while pursuing their interests. They have many weapons.
There is widespread agreement on the proposition that people act according to their self-interest. Marx went further to suggest that people subscribe to ideologies conforming to their class interests. For example, agricultural laborers would believe in land reforms, while big landlords would believe that small farms are inefficient. Gradually the weight of strong empirical evidence has led me to understanding that this proposition is false. Large segments of the population can be brought to believe in, and act according to, ideologies extremely harmful to their self interest.

Hunger Games: Western Terror Warriors Spurn Their Innocent Victims

Click here to access article by Chris Floyd from Empire Burlesque. 

This is a bit of a rant, but a well justified one for those of us who take the time and effort required to find out what is really happening in the world. It's hard not to howl with rage against the profiteers in Wall Street who are running amok throughout the world creating chaos, murders, and mayhem on an unprecedented scale while disguising their crimes with "humanitarian" rhetoric.

Talking Turkey: Putin Gobsmacks Obama and Euro-Leaders with Surprise Gas Deal

Click here to access article by Mike Whitney from CounterPunch. 
On Monday [Dec. 1], Russian President Vladimir Putin clinched a groundbreaking deal with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan that will strengthen economic ties between the two nations and make Turkey the major hub for Russian gas in the region. Under the terms of the agreement, Russia will pump additional natural gas to locations in central Turkey and to a “hub at the Turkish-Greek border” which will eventually provide Putin with backdoor access to the lucrative EU market, although Turkey will serve as the critical intermediary. The move creates a de facto Russo-Turkey alliance that could shift the regional balance of power decisively in Moscow’s favor, thus creating another formidable hurtle for Washington’s “pivot to Asia” strategy.
Whitney explains the background that unexpectedly turned Erdoğan against Empire strategies to separate Europe from Russia. This background pertains to another CIA project to support subversion and their use of terrorism referred to by the FBI as Gladio B in Central Asia, and it appears that one important component of this project is the well-funded Gulen Movement created by the CIA. (He only makes superficial reference to the tons of information regarding the Gulen Movement that the courageous Turkish specialist and FBI whistleblower Sibel Edmonds has made available to us.) It seems that Erdoğan and many others throughout Eurasia do not like what the CIA operations are doing. (Edmond's sleuthing efforts also turned up CIA fingerprints in the Boston Bombing incident.) Hence, Erdoğan has increasingly found himself at odds with the CIA which is a key component of our "deep state" that really determines what happens in our "democracy", throughout the Empire, and the world.

Did Israel's 'Democracy' become just Jewish?

Click here to access article by Ludwig Watzal from Media with Conscience.
66 years after the establishment of the State of Israel, even the most ubiquitous term employed to describe the political nature of Israel as a "Jewish democratic state" is no longer valid. The Netanyahu government and its right-wing coalition partners are preparing a law, which will exclusively define Israel as a "Jewish State" for the "Jewish people". For independent observers, who do not wear rose-colored Zionist propaganda glasses, Israel was never a democracy in the classical Western sense of the term, but always a Jewish democracy or a democracy sui generis, i. e. full democratic rights for Jews only.
I hope it passes so that they can no longer pretend to be a "democracy".

Sunday, December 7, 2014

The Federal Reserve Is At The Heart Of The Debt Enslavement System That Dominates Our Lives

Click here to access article by Michael Snyder from The Economic Collapse.
Today, some forms of slavery have been outlawed, but one of the most insidious forms is more pervasive than ever.  It is called debt, and virtually every major decision of our lives involves more of it.
Snyder goes over some basic facts about how the current ruling class cleverly keeps us all in bondage, the modern era's disguised form of slavery.

I would like to add just two points which are left unstated in this article about ruling class control of our money. First, Snyder accurately states that the Federal Reserve is owned by private banks. So, what we have is an operation by the elite of the One Percent to disguise their control of our money behind the facade of what appears to be a government institution, the Federal Reserve; and then they add another layer of deception by having private banks "own" the Federal Reserve. This arrangement, in turn, hides the fact that these private banks are owned by the One Percent. Thus, we have this ruling class which really constitutes .01 of the 1% of the US population creating money "out of thin air", loaning it to our government, which is essentially the taxpayers of the US, and charging interest on this money. (Surely, you must know by now that the rich pay very little taxes.) Incidentally, since the recent collapse of the economy caused by banks packaging and selling home mortgages, which were obtained through fraudulent practices, the Fed has been giving a lot of this money away to the banks, which they own, interest-free to rescue them from bankruptcy.

Second, I'd like to make clear how this system, the formal origins of which go back to the 17th century in Holland and Britain, has worked its magic on behalf of the ruling capitalist classes. It is basically because this corresponded with the acceleration of productivity made possible by the era of Enlightenment when science and the scientific method created an understanding of the physical forces that shape our world. This, in turn, produced many kinds of machines which were powered first by water, then by coal, and then productivity really took off when humanity learned how to use fossil fuels to supply energy to the evermore sophisticated machinery.

This era witnessed a huge and accelerating transformation of nature's resources into goods under a system of profit for those who owned the machines. Such people are known as capitalists. This system produced vast amounts of wealth and most of this was accumulated by this tiny class of people. Wealth is readily transformed into political power which is one of the most addictive substances known to humans. 

One glaring fact of human life, which capitalists must deny because such a fact undermines their faith in the system, which is the goose that lays so many eggs for them, is that we live on a finite planet. Up till this point in the story of humans this tiny class could count on the growth of economies to feed their addiction to wealth/power. Do you see where this is going? Now that they are approaching the limits of Earth's resource limits, the capitalist ruling class with their empire of client states and their NATO army are now engaging in land and resource grabbing more than ever before. This is why we are seeing so many wars and subversion of states like Ukraine. This is why we have seen so many cutbacks in services that affect the public. To make their wars and austerity policies acceptable to people in the US where their home base is largely located, they must constantly deceive the American people as to what they are doing. They do this through their control of media, education, and even entertainment. 

Added to the threat of never-ending wars and police states is the looming threat of climate destabilization due to the use of fossil fuels. They've lied about this also until the evidence recently became so overwhelming that they can no longer deny it. Now they engage in such fantasies as migration to other planets and fueling their engines of production with some new exotic fuel such a fusion power.

When People Are Property

Click here to access article by Raven Rakia from Medium. 

I think that this article contributes much to the understanding of the now widespread awareness of racialized police practices that have resulted in many recent killings of African-Americans by police whom the "justice" system refuses to prosecute.
The title of the article refers to a theory on deteriorating property that is not tended to: “one unrepaired broken window is a signal that no one cares, and so breaking more windows cost nothing.” The idea is that a broken window should therefore be replaced or fixed. Wilson and Kelling then apply this theory about damaged property to living and breathing human beings: “the unchecked panhandler is, in effect, the first broken window.”
Here is a condensation of the longer article:
In 1982, George L. Kelling and James Q. Wilson introduced the Broken Windows Theory to a national audience with an article published in The Atlantic Monthly. Theorizing about policing in low-income, inner-city, and predominantly black neighborhoods, Kelling and Wilson put forth an argument that cracking down on public disturbances and petty crimes with foot patrol officers would stop larger, more violent crimes from occurring. The essay [was]...funded by the Police Foundation — created by the Ford Foundation in 1970.
.... Over the years, police departments have given it different names: quality of life policing, community policing, hot spot policing, stop and frisk, neighborhood policing, and zero tolerance policing, to name a few. In the comfort of criminal justice classes and textbooks, these descriptions each have a specific definition. However, in practice over the past 30 years, these tactics mirror one another in their reliance on racial profiling and cracking down on petty crimes and ‘disorder’ to yield the same result: criminalizing the poor, black and brown.
If you really want to understand one version of a racialized police practice--"stop and frisk", I suggest you read this brief article entitled "NYPD Stop And Frisks: 15 Shocking Facts About A Controversial Program" before proceeding.  
.... Conveniently, both stop and frisk and the broken windows theory call for the policing of young, black people. For stop and frisk, they claim they’re looking for guns; for broken windows, they claim they’re keeping the order. After Mayor De Blasio was elected on his anti-stop and frisk stance, he appointed William Bratton as police commissioner at the beginning of the year and Bratton returned to his old job.
.... Thirty years later, the power of broken windows policing to sustain mass incarceration and preserve the system of control and ownership indefinitely is harrowing. Michelle Alexander conceived the term “the invisible cage” to describe the life that a person convicted of a felony lives once out of prison:
“the unique set of criminal sanctions that are imposed on individuals after they step outside of the prison gates…These laws operate collectively to ensure the vast majority of convicted offenders will never integrate into mainstream, white society. They will be discriminated against, legally, for the rest of their lives — denied employment, housing, education and public benefits. Unable to surmount these obstacles most will eventually return to prison and then be released again, caught in a closed circuit of perpetual marginality.”
furthermore, those on probation and parole,
“are at increased risk of arrest because their lives are governed by additional rules that do not apply to everyone else. Myriad restrictions on their travel and behavior (such as prohibition on associating with other felons), as well as various requirements of probation and parole (such as paying fines and meeting with probation officers), create opportunities for arrest. Violation of these special rules [can result in a warrant issued for one’s arrest and] can land someone right back in prison.”