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, March 5, 2016

China One Belt One Road Vision for Global Trade

Click here to access article and short video posted by James Corbett from The International Forecaster

The best part of this report, which he devotes most of his report to, is an up-to-date coverage of actual efforts to create this imaginative "one belt road" project. Afterwards he writes the following:
Taken singly, the projects may seem random or haphazard. Taken together they are a brilliant way of playing win-win politics with China's neighbors and trading partners. China gets to increase markets and stabilize shaky trading partners and the recipients of China's largesse get a multi-billion dollar shot in the arm that comes without the usual burden of IMF debt conditions.

So we have a happy and prosperous China recognizing that its long term interest lays in spreading some of that wealth around to help prop up its neighbors. Rather than seeing other countries as competitors in a cutthroat dog-eat-dog world, China is treating its One Road, One Belt collaborators as partners whose rising tide will help lift the Chinese dragon boat. What could possibly go wrong?

Three things.
However he provides little evidence to support the "three things" other than common sense.

The West and Syria: the corporate media vs. reality

Click here to access article by Ian Sinclair from Open Democracy UK

Read the article to see how Sinclair reaches the following conclusion:
...the government prefers to treat the public like mushrooms – keeping them in the dark and feeding them bullshit. And with our supposedly crusading, disputatious, stroppy and difficult fourth estate unable or unwilling to report basic facts and to connect some very simple dots, what chance does the general public have of ever gaining even a basic understanding of what the West is doing in Syria?
What Sinclair doesn't seem to be aware of is that the Empire's ruling transnational capitalist class must always (as always) keep people in the dark when their actions are clearly criminal. Corporate media coverage of reality is always used as the first line of defense against ordinary people whose support must be obtained for capitalists to have their way in the world at the expense and lives of ordinary people. 

Rising Seas Pull Fort Lauderdale, Florida's Building Boomtown, Toward a Bust

Click here to access article by Katherine Bagley from Inside Climate News
"All of South Florida is building like crazy, like there is no tomorrow, which is true, unfortunately," said Wanless, the University of Miami scientist. "The plan is to build these homes and sell them to the Iowa pig farmer who has worked all his life to retire here, or get a nice investment for his grandchildren. They are being hoodwinked."

This leaves homeowners and banks on the hook for countless dollars in lost property values.

"If we follow the federal government's estimates, we could be at 6.6 feet by the end of the century," Wanless continued. "That curve puts us at 2 feet by 2048. That's barely a mortgage cycle away."

Friday, March 4, 2016

Mumia Abu-Jamal and Cornel West Uncensor Radical Black History

Click here if you wish to access the full introduction to a video in relation to a conference held in January in Philadelphia regarding the black radical political tradition as a way to celebrate Black History Month. I would like to draw your attention to two interviews conducted by Abby Martin of Media Roots with African-American scholars in the video below (included in the article): Cornel West (2:54m-11:33m) and Margaret Stevens of Essex College in New Jersey (11:34m-14:02m); and in addition to an excellent speech delivered by Mumia Abu-Jamal (17:29-23:04m) by phone from prison.
On January 10th of this year, hundreds of people from all over the country converged in Philadelphia to show this fire is still burning, despite all the attempts to extinguish it. Featuring interviews with Cornel West and others, and with speeches from legends like Mumia Abu-jamal and Angela Davis, Abby Martin provides a snapshot from the ‘Black Radical Tradition In Our Time’ conference held in Philadelphia.

Public ideas leadership on climate? The truth rarely sees the light of day.

Click here to access article by David Spratt from Climate Code Red (Australia). 

I think the headline of the article is more comprehensible to me if it read simply "Public leadership on climate destabilization? The truth rarely sees the light of day." In this piece he essentially argues that public leaders are either too timid or worried that frank discussion about the threats of climate destabilization would be too upsetting for people. 
So here is the great irony: people have got a fair, intuitive sense of what might be coming, but our ideas leaders can’t talk about it.
Here is a climate concerned and knowledgeable activist who shows clear signs that he simply does not understand how the capitalist system functions to suppress any knowledge about how the system is fundamentally at odds with climate stability (or equality, social justice, etc). Much like a fish in the sea, he is completely unaware of the sea of capitalism in which we all swim and how this capitalist sea promotes certain ideas over others and emphatically suppresses ideas which question capitalism. In today's societies, a tiny class of capitalist elites control every important institution and manage these institutions to see to it that they function in harmony with their class interests, the most important of which is the maintenance and support of the capitalist system, the goose that lays so many golden eggs for them. 

It's clear that the Australian activist Spratt along with many honest scientists and public leaders are unable to see this omnipresent sea around them to understand how it limits any real discussion of the threats existing today to our biosphere. This is because of the success of capitalist elites to control our ideological institutions (education and media) so that we never view this capitalist sea around us to pose any real questions that might threaten its legitimacy. 

Such brainwashing keeps many from the most profound insight of all: capitalism is completely incompatible with a sustainable biosphere, that to survive we must change the system from one which prioritizes profits and power for a few to one that serves the needs of all humans, and the most basic is survival. Those few who manage to overcome this brainwashing are effectively intimidated from pursuing such questions by their bosses, and if that doesn't work they are punished severely by withdrawing job opportunities. 

As an illustration of the fear that intimidates scientists, I will reproduce a comment to my posting of "Capitalism and the destruction of life on Earth: Six theses on saving the humans" on July 3, 2013:
Anonymous Jul 13, 2013, 6:21:00 PM
I have been teaching environmental biology for decades, and entirely concur with the points made by the author. Most of my colleagues are simply afraid to speak up, and for very good reasons. The perpetrators of this tragedy control the world, and they do have a license to defame, harass--and even kill. If you take this threat along with so many others, you must conclude that--short of a revolution and a SYSTEMIC change--it's game over for humanity. I'd give us 200 years, at the most.

Thursday, March 3, 2016

As Trump takes on the neocons, Kristol likens him to Hitler

Click here to access article by  Philip Weiss from Mondoweiss
One of the most interesting results of Super Tuesday is that the anti-establishment candidate in the Republican race is soaring, Donald Trump, while the anti-establishment candidate on the Dem side is just sputtering along, Bernie Sanders. And while politics is a great mystery, one likely reason for Trump’s success is that he has taken on the establishment foreign policy in the Republican Party– neoconservatism, which gave us the Iraq war– while Sanders has largely laid off the establishment foreign policy in the Democratic Party, liberal interventionism, which also gave us the Iraq tragedy.

Trump’s critique has put him at war with the neoconservatives.

Pristine experience of the US presidential campaign

Click here to access article by Michal Zoldy (Slovakia) from Oriental Review

Zoldy stealthily slips in an attack of the US in a side door in his observations about our elections. However his attack overlooks one dramatic feature of a nation or society in today's world. They are divided into classes. This is also true for America in which one class, a tiny capitalist class, impose their money power on the nation. So, with this fact in mind, we can translate his observation about the US into this much more discerning observation:
Crazy capitalist billionaires living in the US are interfering in the election. They are intrusive idiots who influence the U.S. presidential campaign in one way or another.

The Paris Climate Agreement and the Fight Against Climate Change: A Detailed Summary

Click here to access article by Arnold De Graaff from Heathwood Institute and Press

This Canadian author, academic, and therapist provides an excerpt from his forthcoming book on the above subject. After summarizing the reactions to the recently concluded Paris climate talks, he writes:
They range from euphoric to disastrous. After the first relief passed that at least something had been accomplished, the negative reactions multiplied. The general consensus from many different sources is that the Paris agreement is a failure for humanity and a disaster for the global environment. These negative reactions are well-founded. Here’s why.
He examines the mostly futile efforts that Canadian provinces are making to deal with this problem, and reaches this conclusion:
Unfortunately, climate change does not respond to global economic practices nor to political pressure and manipulation. The rise in CO2 and other gasses, leading to global warming, is a matter of scientific observation and requires solutions that are in keeping with current science and not market-based. Or, on a more practical level, climate change is a matter of global experience by millions of people and requires down-to-earth solutions and people-power. In this respect most of the world leaders are ‘climate change deniers’ that do not really take the evidence of science into account in developing their policies. They are committed to an ideology that makes them blind to the reality and urgency of global warming.

Wednesday, March 2, 2016

Washington’s Neocon Occupation Upholds The Illusion Of Choice In The Two-Party Duopoly

Click here to access article by Mnar Muhawesh from Mint Press News.
In this episode of “Behind the Headline,” host and MintPress News Editor-in-Chief Mnar Muhawesh talks to Daniel McAdams, director of the Ron Paul Institute for Peace, about how the two-party system fulfills the neocon war agenda and discuss what’s holding third-party candidates back from bringing about real lasting peace. 

Gerald Ford White House Altered Rockefeller Commission Report in 1975; Removed Section on CIA Assassination Plots

Click here to access two articles and numerous documents edited, written, and supplied by John Prados and Arturo Jimenez-Bacardi from National Security Archive.
The Gerald Ford White House significantly altered the final report of the supposedly independent 1975 Rockefeller Commission investigating CIA domestic activities, over the objections of senior Commission staff, according to internal White House and Commission documents posted today by the National Security Archive at The George Washington University (www.nsarchive.org). The changes included removal of an entire 86-page section on CIA assassination plots and numerous edits to the report by then-deputy White House Chief of Staff Richard Cheney. 
There is an abundance of information here that analysts can pour over for years to come. All the right-way suspects of that era and beyond were involved in a massive cover-up: Nelson Rockefeller, Dick Cheney, Henry Kissinger, the CIA, and others. A person most vigorously defending the public's right to know and aggressively attacked several secret agencies during his years in office was Idaho's Sen. Frank Church. Incidentally--or maybe not--he lost his next election and died a few years later.

How Does A Malaysian Scholar See the Belt & Road [New Silk Road] Initiative?

Click here to access an interview with Mathew Maavak posted on CCTV (China). 

From Uncommon Thought Journal we learn:
Mathew Maavak is a Malaysian-born consultant who has lived across much of Eurasia and Australia. He is steeped in research and journalism and specializes in a panoply of areas and disciplines including: Strategic Foresight & Planning; Defense and Security Analysis; Perception/Crisis Management; Propaganda and Psychological Warfare; Energy and Resource Geopolitics; Competitive Intelligence; Science, Technology and Innovation policies; and Media, Journalism and Communications. He was an advisor/consultant to Malaysia’ National Technology Foresight (NTF 2010) program and the National Nanotechnology Policy and Strategic Direction action plan.

Spanish Civil War and Syria (II)

Click here to access article by Michael Jabara Carley from Strategic Culture Foundation.
If the conflict in Syria is not a civil war fought by Syrians, but a proxy war fought largely by foreign terrorists, then the western narrative justifying intervention falls to pieces. In a proxy war, the Damascus government and its leader Assad become patriots and defenders of the nation besieged by foreign aggressors.
I think Carley spends far too much time on a few pieces that appeared in Western media which compared the war in Syria with the Spanish Civil War. I have never seen this expressed before and the comparision is obviously totally erroneous. 

What I think is particularly valuable about this piece is the evidence he assembles to support his argument that it is a proxy war fought by various nations who have strong interests in the Mid-East using mostly imported mercenary terrorist forces. The House of Saud is the main culprit because it has vast wealth which it uses to finance such forces. And, of course, the Empire directors often encourage the use of their services to destabilize countries in the region that pursue courses that do not mesh well with the interests of the Empire and its heavily fortified outpost called Israel.

Book Review: GMO Myths And Truths, An Essential Citizen's Guide

Click here to a review of this book by Colin Todhunter from his website East by Northwest.

Todhunter, who has had a dealt and written extensively on the subject, gives this book a very positive evaluation.
GMO Myths and Truths addresses the concerns that many ordinary people have about the technology. Although it deals with complex issues, it uses simple language and explains the issues in a comprehensible way that appeals to both layperson and professional alike.
“To all those concerned citizens, policymakers, journalists, researchers and students who have missed a reliable, unbiased, comprehensive and readable account of plant genetic engineering and its unpredictable consequences: Here it is, and it is a splendid piece of work!” - Terje Traavik, PhD, Professor of Virology and Professor Emeritus of Gene Ecology, Faculty of Health Sciences, UiT – The Arctic University of Norway; and Scientific Director Emeritus, Gen.k – Centre for Biosafety, Norway

Tuesday, March 1, 2016

To Understand Donald Trump is to Not Explain Donald Trump

Click here to access article by Maximilian Forte from Zero Anthropology.  [added material at 4:30 PM Seattle time]
The figure towering over this election, like a human marquee, dated, hazy, glowing, is Donald Trump. The chronicler for this election should have been Hunter S. Thompson.
I agree the American journalist, Hunter Thompson, would have been a good choice to write about Donald Trump and this bizarre election circus. Actually, better yet, I think comedian George Carlin could have done a hilarious shtick on Trump and the current primaries (see this video of his performance especially at 4:00m as an example). However, here is a sample of Forte's take on Trump:
As Trump repeatedly says, “we don’t win anymore, we don’t win with trade, we don’t win at the border, we don’t win with ISIS…”. One might explain Trump in terms of nativism and secular revitalization, but that is hardly sufficient; it may even be inappropriate. But at least Trump, in producing a slogan, willingly offers us a clue–he is to represent Americana.

Donald Trump is an American Classic. Trump is a Hall of Fame. He is an arena rocker. Trump is both the stadium, and the phalanx of heavily armoured football players at the same time. His supporters sense this, they see it, and that is what moves them. Once moved in this way, no amount of “fact checking” will deter them. They are drunk on his aroma. No pope, no tax returns, no past interview transcripts can sober them up.
Forte also thinks Trump is going to win. I definitely think he will win the Republican nomination, but not the presidency. This coronation for Clinton II will go as planned. The hidden Wall Street/CIA directorate that runs this country and the Empire have a perfect pre-election setup: Trump scaring the daylights out of most Americans on one side of Hillary, and on the other side with Bernie Sanders, a pretend socialist and "unwinnable" (read unacceptable to the ruling class), advocating all kinds of social programs that appeal to the hopey-changey crowd of mostly young people and assorted liberals. The majority of the American people will have no choice but to vote for Hillary, the candidate that our ruling class has been grooming for years as their choice for nominal head of the Empire.

The Impact of CAFTA: Drugs, Gangs, and Immigration

Click here to access article by Héctor Perla Jr. from TeleSur
On March 1, 2006 the U.S.-Central America Free Trade Agreement (CAFTA) went into effect between the United States and El Salvador, the first of six Central American nations and the Dominican Republic that would eventually become part of the deal. The agreement, modeled on the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) between the United States, Canada, and Mexico, was seen by the Bush Administration as the first step in a new way toward creating a hemispheric free trade zone after the defeat of the Free Trade Area of the Americas.
Perla reviews the impacts that another neoliberal trade pact, CAFTA, has had on the Central American countries. It appears that this treaty has had largely the same effects on these countries as NAFTA did on Mexico: the wiping out of small farmers, increased imports of US subsidized bio-engineered grains and foodstuffs produced by large corporations from the US and a corresponding decrease in exports of like items to the US. This dramatic change has cause numerous secondary social effects like drug trafficking, gang violence, migration north to the US (see this), and US government political interference of behalf of corporations in the governance of Central American countries.
The trade agreement has given the U.S. government's opportunity to leverage development aid into political influence, and corporations the legal mechanisms to challenge environmental regulations. Recent examples of U.S. intervention in Salvadoran domestic affairs, like pushing for a Public Private Partnership Law, and the U.S. protest over the Salvadoran government’s awarding an important seed purchase program to local cooperatives instead of a Monsanto subsidiary, occurred within the framework laid out in CAFTA.

‘OK, big brother’: Turkish military cooperate with ISIS on border, telephone calls reveal

Click here to access article from RT.
Further proof of ties between the Turkish military and Islamic State fighters operating on the Syrian-Turkish border has been revealed in the Cumhuriyet newspaper, which published more transcripts of telephone calls between the jihadists and officers.

The documents are said to come from an ongoing court case on Islamic State at the Ankara 3rd High Criminal Court. The investigation was reportedly prompted after six Turkish citizens reported to police that their relatives had joined the terrorists. At least 19 people came under surveillance as a result and prosecutors then charged 27 individuals. The daily published the first batch in December.

The new transcripts published by the daily Monday are said to be conversations between Turkish officers and Mustafa Demir, a member of Islamic State (IS, formerly ISIL/ISIS) who is a leading figure on the Syrian-Turkish border.
You may have read or heard about Turkey's President Erdogan attacks on journalists--this article reports on how Turkish journalists are bravely trying to reveal Erdogan's support of terrorists in Syria. The journalists were promptly arrested and jailed, have since been released by a court order but still face government prosecution. Here is the latest report on the situation of the journalists from a German newspaper, Deutsche Welle. 
The two journalists still face possible life sentences at a trial due to start on March 25. They are banned from leaving the country until the end of the hearings.

Erdogan had personally laid the charges against the two journalists and said that he would "not forgive such reporting," vowing that Dundar would "pay the price" for reporting on the story.

Monday, February 29, 2016

G-20 summit rules out coordinated stimulus

Click here to access article by Nick Beams from World Socialist Web Site

From the results of this meeting it appears that global capitalist leaders have run out of solutions to the slump in the world's economy and all the ravages on societies that this is creating. 
In the immediate wake of the financial crisis, the G-20 meeting in London, held at the beginning of April 2009, saw verbal commitments to co-ordinate economic policies claiming the lessons of the 1930s had been learned and there would be no repeat of the conflicts which marked the Great Depression. Now even these words have gone.
The Great Depression of the 1930s ended in another world war. This happened because too much wealth became concentrated in the hands of a few capitalists with the vast majority impoverished. Of course, this is what their system is precisely designed to do. In such a situation no capitalist invests money in production because people cannot afford to buy their products. Because a capitalist economy only functions to produce profits for a social class known as capitalists instead of supplying needs to a society, economies comes to a virtual standstill or "depression". In the 1930s capitalists saw war as solution because wars create demand for weapons of war (which get blown up and need to be replaced), and wars destroy the capital of hopefully other countries which will create demand for the restoration of capital by the winning capitalist country. Today we live in a very different world.

Our neoliberal world's economy is largely controlled by transnational industrial and financial capitalists who operate in many countries. After the last world war, an Anglo-American capitalist gang emerged as top dog in the world, and they launched a project to secure the world for themselves by subduing other countries such as Iran, countries of Central and South America, Korea, Indonesia, etc--any countries who sought to pursue an independent course. In recent decades we've seen the emergence of nations that challenge this Anglo-American Empire primarily composed of China and Russia which have mixed economies. The Empire is now undertaking to subordinate these nations to the rule of the Empire, and the former are beginning to fight back any way they can.

In our time a world war now means a likely nuclear conflagration that would destroy far too much capital for capitalists to be comfortable with. Hence, we have been witnessing many smaller wars such as we are now seeing in the Mid-East. Even if we are able to escape a nuclear nightmare (Look at the Doomsday Clock--it's nearly as close as it ever was to midnight!), we are likely to continue to see many other smaller wars continuing and starting up all over the globe. 

Another option that we have already experienced is austerity and government giveaways to corporations. This is also likely to continue as Mike Whitney argues in his post entitled "Wall Street’s Savage Reckoning: Clouds Gather Over G-20 Summit".

Of course the only sane solution is replacing the destructive system of capitalism with a sustainable system that serves all people and can exist in harmony with nature (our biosphere). Will humans choose a sane solution? Stay tuned, or better yet stay informed and actively engaged in positive changes, in revolutionary changes.

Sunday, February 28, 2016

Syria before the War

Click here to access article by Tobias Nase from Global Independent Analytics

Nase describes in detail what Syrian society was like before the "Empire of Chaos", as Brazilian journalist often refers to the US, engineered along with their pals in the Mid-East (Saudi Arabia, Qatar, and Turkey) the Empire's latest project of destabilization of countries they don't like. Much like Libya, Syria was a stable non-sectarian country that enjoyed a moderately high standard of living.

Syria: Peace and Victory

Click here to access article by Navid Nasr from Global Independent Analytics.

Nasr argues against the concerns expressed by others (see this and this) that the recently ceasefire agreement concluded by Russia and the US was a mistake, that Turkey, Saudi Arabia, and their sponsored terrorist armies would simply take advantage of it. It appears that "Plan B" is the outcome most preferred by the US, and Nasr reminds us that this plan represents a strategy that has also been favored by the Empire throughout recent decades:
It should be noted that partition is, and has been for a while now, a central part of U.S. foreign policy strategy for dealing with the recalcitrant “regimes” and inconvenient population groups.

Whether it is Sudan, Yugoslavia, Serbia itself, Macedonia, Ukraine, Russia, China, Libya, Syria, Iraq, Yemen or Iran, the methods, and the eventual (or hoped for) outcome of partition vary only slightly. In some cases direct military intervention is required, but in most cases local proxies will do nicely, whether armed militias or "civil society" types.

Frustration and Anger as Syria Prevails

Click here to access article by Jeremy Salt from The Palestine Chronicle

This article is a little dated (2/18/2016) for the fast moving events in this war-torn area of the world, but the author is highly qualified and offers another independent view of events.
As the Syrian army advances on Raqqa and seals off supply routes to the armed gangs inside Aleppo, no surprise that there is another spike in the propaganda war, this time directed against Russia.

Frustration and anger is driving Turkish cross-border shelling of Kurdish and Syrian army positions. Yet in many respects Turkey only has itself to blame.