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, January 31, 2015

Half of Humanity Now Forms the ‘Resistance’

Click here to access article by Andre Vltchek from CounterPunch. 

Vltchek like Pepe Escobar seems to be everywhere in the world. We now find him in Kashmir reporting on the resistance there facing the violence of Indian government troops. While local Indians seem a bit depressed over their situation, Vltchek attempts to boost their morale, and ours, with inspirational messages like those contained in this article. I think he sometimes overstates his inspiration; but it is certainly needed by people in the front-lines who are waging this daily battle against forces of the fascist Empire, and often by people like us behind the lines who are also engaged, although with less risk to our lives and limbs, in this daily struggle. 

Vltchek frequent reporting on the resistance occurring in various parts of the world is by itself very inspiring.
During that dark night, several men and women were gathered in a cramped room, asking me one simple and essential question: “Could the brutality of the Empire be prevented, and if not prevented, could it be stopped?”

I replied that “Yes!” And “Yes!” again.

Because no matter how dark the night appears to be, no matter how hopeless the struggles seems to be, the world had changed in the last several years; and it had changed profoundly.

TTIP: Regulatory Cooperation - a Threat to Democracy

Click here if you wish to access this posting directly form Corporate Europe Observatory.
We denounce “regulatory cooperation“ as a danger to democracy and an attempt to put the interests of big business before the protection of citizens, workers and the environment.

The video is a joint project of Campact, Corporate Europe Observatory (CEO), LobbyControl, Seattle to Brussels Network and SumOfUs.

The new Global Corporate Law

Click here to access article by Juan Hernández Zubizarreta from Transnational Institute. (This link goes to an introduction which includes a link to the 11 page paper by this author.)

We have witnessed within the US the move by the capitalist ruling class through its control of the Supreme Court to level the playing field between corporations and ordinary citizens by the latter's ruling in the Citizens United v. FEC case which culminated a long history of such rulings. Well, it appears that worse things are happening on the global level where there is developing a global corporate law that is being inserted into national laws of many states in addition to the reinterpretation of existing laws all, of which, even go beyond a level playing field--they actually favor corporate rights and interests. This is the natural development of capitalism which has reached a late stage in which the wealth accumulation of capitalists is so large that states have little real control over their economies--they must now go begging to capitalists for investments in their economies.
The global economic crisis that unfolded in 2009 was significant not just for the questions it raised over the power of big finance, but also for the attention it drew to other crises facing our planet – notably food, ecology and care work. What has been given less attention is the national and international legal systems that underpin these crises and the way legislation has been skewed in favour of capital and transnational corporations.

Friday, January 30, 2015

Death-Dealing Politics in the Age of Extreme Violence

Click here to access article by Henry Giroux from TruthOut.

I am posting this article not because it sheds much light on its subject matter, but as another example of material you find throughout liberal-left media (TruthOut, Democracy Now!, The Nation, AlterNet, etc) and by prominent activists and critics such as Naomi Klein. Thus, if you are already familiar with Giroux's writings, I am not recommending that you read this article. What I want to do is use this and similar writings in order to define a major boundary between reformist and radical ideological positions. Those who write in the reformist camp always limit their critiques to preserve the system of capitalism while wanting only modifications of it. In contrast, radical writers see the capitalist system as basically or inherently flawed and want to replace the system with something else, although this may be unspecified.  

The crucial feature of capitalism is the right to "own" value produced on the premises or using material "owned" by private parties. Hence, the need to convert everything into a commodity that can be owned, bought and sold directly or indirectly for a profit. Thus we see all kinds of ideas and even life forms being "owned" to serve profit-making, privately owned enterprises. Labor has long been transformed into a commodity through wage labor, a kind of rented labor.

Reformist writers often go to great lengths to criticize existing economic practices and their harmful effects on society. People like Giroux and Naomi Klein do this with so much passion, but it is not passion that divides reformists from radicals.

The way we can identify this piece as reformist is rather easy when we see such phrases as the following to bolster Giroux's arguments: "free-market fundamentalism" instead of simply "market operations", "neoliberal" or "neoliberalism" or "neoliberal authoritarianism" in place of "the current stage of capitalism", or "predatory capitalism" or "savage form of free-market capitalism" used in place of simply "capitalism". (Klein frequently uses "deregulated capitalism") He, like other reformists, argue that the current form of capitalism is replacing what we had before which he implies was democracy. This is patently false. Under capitalist class rule there has always existed this primary principle: the more money you have in your bank account the more rights and privileges you enjoy. It's just that nowadays with capitalist wealth becoming so concentrated, the increasing inequality and disparity between the rich and the poor has become so dramatic that it can no longer be downplayed or ignored.

Giroux and Klein are two of the most passionate writers who attack the abuses of capitalism, however they always stop short of attacking the system itself; instead they focus their attacks on what they see as corruption of the system. Thus, they always suggest that only reforms are needed to restore things to what we enjoyed in some mythical democracy. Their passionate concern for the victims of capitalism often reminds me of Bill Clinton's theme of "I feel your pain" which he (and Obama uses) used so effectively while promoting legislation in support of neoliberal trade treaties.

Thus, we can see why liberals, or the capitalist left-wing, are tolerated in capitalist class rule: they serve to co-opt or convert radical-revolutionary types into reformists with their emotional pitches of concern for the victims of capitalism.

There Is No Scientific Consensus On GMO Safety

Click here to access article by Colin Todhunter from his blog.

Todhunter draws material from scientists to argue that science has not arrived at agreement on this issue. Meanwhile agricultural corporations using GMO technology keep maintaining that the technology is perfectly safe. Of course, the technology is creating vast amounts of wealth for the owners of these corporations. 

As I've argued before, capitalists pursue wealth because of its easy convertibility into power over others which is its main objective. The pursuit of wealth is mostly a means to such power. 

Another unique feature of the capitalist system is mostly a great secret: the nature of capitalist class power is that it is very indirect so that it usually functions without the use of coercive physical force. Instead capitalists rely more on "market forces". To be sure, ruling capitalist classes have installed powerful coercive forces (militarized police forces, a huge military-industrial complex producing all sorts of lethal weapons, a huge prison system, etc) whenever market forces cannot accomplish their aims. With their ownership/control of media, they are also able to spread lies about their operations whenever the truth gets in their way. Todhunter is a media activist that is putting the lie to messages amplified by corporate media that GMO foods have been shown by scientists to pose no significant hazards to the health of humans or the environment.
The industry's claim that there is a 'scientific consensus' on the safety of GMOs is about as bogus as its claim that this technology is required to 'feed the world'. That too is a deception....

Unraveling the Mystery of Boko Haram

Click here to access article by Eric Draitser from CounterPunch.

I don't think that Draitser fully unravels the "mystery of Boko Haram" in this two part, lengthy article; instead he answers the question as to who benefits. In so doing, he provides an excellent overview of Western neocolonial operations in resource rich Africa. All the former European colonial powers are back competing for the continent's wealth; but there are new capitalist actors, US and China, that are on the scene to make it even more complicated. 
While many of the details remain murky at best, with powerful players operating behind the scenes, the contours of a regional destabilization and a proxy war become discernible.  
Although China is a major player, Draitser does not give much information about their involvement. From my memory of other reliable reports, I think the Chinese participation in this continent has had positive benefits for African countries by their promotion of infrastructure construction. 

Thursday, January 29, 2015

Sibel Edmonds on Gladio B and the Paris Shooting

Click here if you wish to access the original posting on the Corbett Report. I particularly recommend the first 32:07m of the interview.


I'm sure observers of alternative media will be shocked by Edmond's commentary about a recent report in the NY Times regarding an incident in Xinjiang, China. (sarcasm)  This courageous FBI whistleblower has covered the Empire's creation of subversive terrorist projects known as Gladio B in this and other regions two years ago in the excellent Gladio B series with James Corbett, so she was ready to offer her insights on what is really happening there in this latest incident.
Oil routes and pipelines actual & planned
(Here are some maps that you might find useful when listening to the first part of Edmond's interview.)

Related to this, I found another article posted on MintPress News entitled "ISIS Member Claims The U.S. Has Secretly Been Funding Their Operations" which was most interesting.

Below is a list of other topics covered in the rest of the 32:07m segment of the interview that may interest you.

 -Antiterror raids suggest Belgium  has become centre for extremists

 -Turkey mafia paid to smuggle Paris suspect into Syria: Sources

 -Information on Democracy Now! funding

-BFP Exposé: CIA-Obama-George Soros Coordinated Misinformation Campaign with Democracy Now!

New Saudi King Named In 9/11 Suits

Click here to access article by Jon Gold from 911 Blogger.

Gold digs up more information about the new monarch of the Empire's important ally in the Middle East, the country that only sells its oil in US dollars in return for protection. (Sounds like a Mafia operation, does it not?) I particularly recommend his link to History Commons website, a project of activists who are doing such great work in uncovering the real history of the Empire. 

Because the people at 911 Blogger are focused on excavating the real truth about 9/11, they make frequent references to 28 redacted pages of the official 9/11 Commission Report that they want revealed. If you are not familiar with this issue, Gold provides links to more information.

 

This week, Obama cancelled a trip to the Taj Mahal so he could go pay his respects for King Abdullah in Saudi Arabia. He went to see the new King, Salman bin Abdul-Aziz Al Saud, who just happens to be named as a defendant in a law suit against Saudi Arabia brought about by 9/11 Families. Some of the people that accompanied him were John McCain (who loves the 9/11 Report which absolved the Saudi Arabian Government), James A. Baker (his law firm Baker Botts represented the Saudis against the 9/11 Families in a lawsuit), and Condoleezza Rice (who lied before the 9/11 Commission, and had an oil rig named after her).

U.S. Set to Spend $95 Million a Day for 10 Years to Update Nuclear Arsenal

Click here to access article by Carey Wedler from The Anti-Media
Last week, millions of Americans were busy ‘flagsturbating’ to the latest American war porn, American Sniper. While they were distracted, the federal government was busy bolstering the war machinery that the film helps to glorify.

According to a new estimate published by the Congressional Budget Office last week, it will cost $348 billion over a decade for the United States to update its nuclear weapons.  Should they do it, they will continue a stranglehold on one of the world’s biggest arsenals.

Russia In The Cross Hairs — Paul Craig Roberts

Click here to access article by Paul Craig Roberts from his blog. 

I almost entirely agree with his astonishment over the Empire's various attacks on Russia and the dangers the latter faces in this new cold war. However, I also have for a long time been astonished at this former Assistant Secretary of the Treasury for Economic Policy in the Reagan administration. The Treasury Department is typically loaded with ruling class directors. I would be very interested to find out the history of Robert's split with the ruling class. I can only surmise that he is an old fashioned conservative in the older ruling class who because of his loyalty and skills was appointed to the position, but over the years since then the neo-conservatives and Zionists have heavily infiltrated the ruling class.

In the first sentence above I specified "almost entirely agree" with Robert's views in this article because there was one paragraph with which I disagreed:
Standard and Poor’s downgrade is, without any doubt, a political act. It proves what we already know, and that is that the American rating firms are corrupt political operations. Remember the Investment Grade rating the American rating agencies gave to obvious subprime junk? These rating agencies are paid by Wall Street, and like Wall Street they serve the US government.
No, it is the reverse: the US government along with the rating agencies serve Wall Street.

Wednesday, January 28, 2015

We have no money so central banks give more money to banks

Click here to access article by Pete Dolack from Systemic Disorder

We must thank Dolack once again for explaining what the language of our capitalist masters really means and what is occurring in the economies of the Empire, mostly NATO countries and Japan, which are under the control of these people who are a tiny segment of their respective populations. What I don't think he makes clear is that the decisions our masters are making are dictated to a large extent by the inherent nature of capitalism which is a "systemic disorder" that promotes the interests of capitalists, our masters. Thus, their decisions are not irrational or stupid, but the logical consequence of class rule guided by an economic system that favors them with wealth which readily transfers into power. It is power that they are primarily after, not wealth. Wealth is a means to power. Perhaps I need to explain this further.

There is no doubt that the capitalist system brings tremendous wealth and fabulous lifestyles to capitalists, but I am thoroughly convinced that this is far less important to them than the power it gives capitalists to decide on every significant issue facing societies. This conviction is based on various serendipitous experiences I've had ranging from a personal observation of a CEO of a major corporation, my contacts with other high ranking people in banking, and the observations of other observing people whose experiences brought them into contact with powerful capitalists. After all, after one has a million dollars or so, what more does one need to satisfy their material needs whims and fantasies? These capitalists are amassing fortunes of 1000 times more than that! And they are always plotting to make more money, and they don't care how they do it and whether it wrecks the planet for future generations. Thus, it can't be because they are striving to improve their lifestyles. Obviously they want more control of, or dominance over, other capitalists and over entire societies--that's us. Capitalists are essentially control freaks and they are in control of most of the world! 

However, is capitalism any different in this way than the systems of domination that have governed societies since civilization began around 10 to 15 thousand years ago? We have learned that control structures existed in theocratic, military, and feudal societies. Capitalism is just another "systemic disorder". I think we must learn from anthropological evidence which indicates the major role that cooperation and egalitarian social relations played in the 98% of human existence which preceded the advent of civilization. 

It appears that the more humans began to control their material means of survival, the more they have viewed nature and their fellow humans in instrumental terms to be exploited for their own benefit. This type of experience has alienated humans from the deeper reality of humans as merely another life form created by nature and dependent on it. There must also be a fundamental acknowledgement that nature is our planet and that we must give up any illusions of transferring to another planet. It follows logically from this argument that to survive, humans must return to much more cooperative societal arrangements that emphasize real equality or we will be eliminated like so many other creatures that preceded us and couldn't adapt.

Must watch: Ukrainian Deputy: US to stage a civil war in Ukraine! This was 20.11.2013!! BEFORE Maidan

Click here if you wish to access the transcript and comments from the posting on The Vineyard of the Saker.

The is more striking evidence that this pseudo revolution was carefully planned by US secret services using methods that were carefully honed from previous "color revolutions". 

What is not explained the chanting in the background which almost put a stop midway in this speaker's address. A note following the post from "Kat Kan" offered this explanation: "The people inexplicably allowed onto the floor of their parliament to chant slogans when a deputy is speaking look like Maidan types already."


Collective Efforts + Self-Education = Social Change

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

Some very worthy words of wisdom from an activist.
We are on the brink of economic, social, and environmental collapse. What an extraordinary time to be alive. How lucky are we? We've been trusted with the most vital mission of all time: survival.

This is the best time ever to be working towards collective liberation. Let’s join together to make sure it’s not the last.

TTIP: Regulations Handcuffed

Click here to access article by Kenneth Haar and Max Bank from Corporate Europe Observatory.
A new leaked proposal from the transatlantic trade treaty negotiations (TTIP) shows the European Commission seemingly unstoppable in its drive to constrain regulations to protect the public interest – including potentially those made by regional authorities. 

Saudi oil and U.S. hypocrisy

Click here to access article by Sara Flounders from Workers World.

Flounders provides an excellent description of the Empire's close ally in this Medieval kingdom of Saudia Arabia. Such reporting rarely makes it into the Empire's mainstream media. The only thing that is missing is the key role that this kingdom plays in the backing of petro-dollars which enables the US ruling class to create as much money as it wants.
Saudi Arabia is an absolute and brutal dictatorship. The country is named after the royal Saud family that has expropriated the country’s fabulous oil wealth, and treats it as a wholly owned family asset. Their control is maintained by massive state-organized repression. All forms of political dissent and social organization, from political parties to trade unions, are banned under pain of death.

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Money Talks

Click here to access article by Nathan J. Robinson from Jacobin. 

Robinson criticizes liberals for believing that one can legislate free speech (influence) in a society that creates gross inequality in the distribution of money. Money is influence. 

Capitalism creates classes by essentially dividing people into "owners" of productive property and workers who work in their property for wages controlled by the owners. The owners will always come of better in this system because of their control of wages. Over time this control has inevitably resulted in what we see today: a small segment of the population who are rich and vast number of people who tend to be poor and powerless (without influence). Thus, you can have many laws regulating the use of money to influence the political process, but money (influence) will always be used by capitalists to dominate society. Capitalists will always find ways to work around any laws or regulations that tend to restrict their influence. This last conclusion has been demonstrated throughout the history of capitalist societies.
...money not only buys political power, it is political power. Its possession confers godlike capability, and its deprivation creates servitude. With money one can manipulate public taste, ruin one’s enemies, and build, destroy, and conquer.

Movement Ferguson, Beware the Nonprofit Industrial Complex

Click here to access article by Netfa Freeman from Black Agenda Report.

Freeman puts a spotlight on the dangers of seeking funding from non-profits that are funded by the rich, instead of building grass-roots movements that fund themselves.
While, of course, few if anyone may be “getting rich,” no one – particularly those of us working in the non-profit industry – can deny the influence funders have on what not-for-profit formations do or won’t do, what political positions they take or don’t take, etc. Even if, as the director of Soros's fund disclaims “they have no ‘direct’ control over the groups they give to, and said they are all trying to improve accountability.” “Direct” is the operative word.

If we think of this as funders literally dictating to organizations we will miss how this works. An organization or individual doesn’t have to be told anything directly.
The problem, as she recognizes, is that in order to build a grass-roots movement political consciousness raising is a necessary, but also a very difficult, effort to accomplish. That is why I have always stressed the importance of creating a self-funded alternative media by the grass-roots. 

Monday, January 26, 2015

American Sniper: Hollywood and Our Homeland Insecurity Complex

Click here to access article by Patrick Henningsen from 21st Century Wire.

There are a number of reviews of this latest, much ballyhooed film (American Sniper), but none that I've read come close to the quality of this study of the film in many contexts: film art, war propaganda in service to the Empire, CIA and military participation, comparisons with earlier war films, and some information regarding the "sniper's" actual life in contrast to the film version.

After reading the review, it's clear to me that the film fits perfectly with the needs of the Empire directors to keep the hoi polloi supporting their military adventures all over the globe. As such it appears to be a masterpiece of war propaganda designed most especially for the American audience. It is also another illustration of how entertainment is used by the ruling capitalist class along with popular media and education to promote their power and wealth agendas throughout the world. 
It is central to both the Pentagon and the CIA missions, to make absolutely certain that when military blockbuster films hit cinemas they convey the correct message, in the context of what is going on around the world and within the country at that particular time. It’s expected that after this film, the amount of recruitment applications for military sniper positions will skyrocket. .... All the signs are pointing to the inevitability of US troops returning to the Middle East combat theater, either in Iraq, Yemen, or along a new NATO-sanctioned ‘No-Fly’ buffer zone along the Turkey-Syria border. As we speak, media war messaging is centered around ISIS, and that Washington ‘may be forced to send our boys back there.’ To do this, they will need more men, and also more snipers, and more Chris Kyles. 

More Cowbells: new NSA leaks reveal extent of spying tactics

Click here to access article via Reflections on a Revolution from Associated Whistleblowing Press.
In the last few years we have been living a critical moment in the history of the Internet. The good old days, in which optimism was widespread among engineers and new technologies were considered a solution to the great problems of humanity, seem to have disappeared. Nowadays, the Internet has become a very lucrative spying machine, and many of those same engineers are fighting to preserve the most basic rights to privacy.

It’s mostly thanks to Edward Snowden and Wikileaks that we have caught a glimpse of the most obscure practices in the world of industrial-level spying, carried out by the National Security Agency (NSA) and its allies.

Under the pretense of fighting terrorism, these agencies now have direct access to the servers of the largest internet platforms like Facebook, Google, Apple and Yahoo....

International Press Gets Briefly Excited about Coup Prospects in Venezuela

Click here to access article by Joe Emersberger from TeleSur.

In a survey of the "international press" Emersberger sees a lot of excitement about another coup attempt. Of course, what he means by the "international press" is media from NATO countries, which is to say those countries under the control of the Empire. 
Ever since the 2002 coup in Venezuela was defeated, the international corporate press has generally ignored it, downplayed its significance, or accused the government of using it as a “distraction” and as a way to smear opponents. However, the recent plunge in oil prices – and absurd predictions that Venezuela could be forced into defaulting on its foreign bonds - clearly had many foreign journalists excited about the prospects of a coup while President Nicolas Maduro was out of the country.
However, is his concluding paragraph he argues that the situation is very different than it was in 2002 when the right-wing opposition controlled most of Venezuelan's media and was instrumental in bring off the temporary coup.

Sunday, January 25, 2015

4 Ways American Corporations Supported Slavery and Horrific Racial Oppression

Click here to access article by Paul Buchheit from AlterNet. 
Many of the modern-day practices of our free-market capitalist system are at least partly responsible for the oppression of black people in America.
The fundamental purpose of capitalism is to create profit for private "owners", which essentially means to buy low and sell high. Another feature is transformation of all inputs of an economic operation into commodities that can be bought and sold. Since all economic value in industrial capitalism requires labor to transform nature into products that humans can use, labor also has also become a commodity, although a particular form of commodity known as wage labor or rented labor. However, in this article Buchheit explains how US corporations were to a large extent built on the earlier form of very cheap commodified labor known as slavery.

New Saudi King Was Major Supporter of Al Qaeda

Click here to access article by Wayne Madsen from Strategic Culture Foundation. (Note regarding Madsen: Although I dislike his practice of not furnishing any linking documentation, I regard Madsen as a very well informed and reliable source of information and analysis.)

"The king is dead, long live the king!" This means essentially that the monarchy is eternal, that nothing changes because a particular king dies. This seems to be the case--maybe even worse--for Saudi Arabia according to Madsen.
The new king of Saudi Arabia, Salman bin Abdulaziz al Saud, the half-brother of King Abdullah, who died in his early 90s from complications from pneumonia, is expected to rule with a more Wahhabist-oriented religious bent and concentrate on limiting cautious political reforms started by Abdullah. Salman is also expected to devote his energies to increasing Saudi national security.
Later in the article things look, indeed, worse for that Medieval country and close ally of the US Empire.
Drug money laundering in support of Al Qaeda terrorists in Afghanistan and Pakistan, a strict interpretation of the Koran in the future governance of Saudi Arabia, the return of the feared religious police, the "mutaween", and a crackdown on legitimate internal dissent in Saudi Arabia: this is the legacy and governance style that King Salman brings to Saudi Arabia.

On the Supersonic Track to Extinction

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

The author provides a lot of content to show how energy and climate change are driving us to extinction under capitalism.
As far as scientists can tell, the current warming from industrial civilization is the most rapid in geologic time. Ice core and marine sediment data in the paleoclimatology archive have revealed brief periods of rapid warming and there is no reason to believe modern man is immune to such catastrophic and abrupt climate events. In fact, we know that the Arctic is already warming twice as fast as anywhere else on the planet. Earth sensitivity to climate change is now thought to be possibly double that of previous estimates. An entirely different planet can result from just a slight change in temperature....


Many are under the delusion that we’ll be able to turn this process around with “green energy” while ignoring that such technologies are derivatives of fossil fuel or that increased efficiencies will lower our carbon footprint while ignoring Jevons paradox. Countless other self-reinforcing feedbacks loops driving our socioeconomic system come into play as well such as rampant overpopulation (Overpopulation key driver of climate change, mass extinction), chemical pollution (“Every year, up to 400 million tonnes are produced and a thousand new substances concocted“), and capitalism’s inherent growth dynamics....