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, May 7, 2016

Hey, Bernie, Leave Them Kids Alone

Click here to access article by Paul Street from CounterPunch

Street analyses the results of the latest quadrennial election ritual where the Democratic party apparatchiks provide a "progressive" candidate to act as a sheepdog tho lure real progressives back into to party to support the real candidate backed by Empire interests. In doing so he provides his views on the various actors in this spectacle: young naive progressives, older progressives, and the Democratic party's fake progressive apparatchiks. But in the end, what is really needed is the construction of a genuine grassroots movement dedicated to the overthrow of capitalism and its rich supporters who are driving us off the cliffs of never-ending wars and climate destabilization.
The people’s and workers’ struggle needs a more serious and radical starting lineup and game plan. The 2015-16 squad went about as far as people can go playing by the reigning major league and party system rules. It was fairly impressive. They took some good swings up at the plate. But, well, guess what? It wasn’t even in the revolutionary ballpark. The ruling class sent them back to the bench with their bat in their hands, as usual.

Friday, May 6, 2016

When Liberals Run Out of Patience: the Impolite Exile of Seymour Hersh

Click here to access article by Dave Wagner from CounterPunch

Wagner tells us how Seymour Hersh, the great investigative reporter who is best known for his exposé of the My Lai massacre and other reports that told the true story of events that our media directors didn't want covered, put together the real story of the execution of Bin Laden and his subsequent banishment from American corporate media. I guess it is one thing to uncover the hidden dirty secrets of the Empire and allow them to be published by one or two media companies, but it is not permitted to expose the lies of Empire propagandists.
Seymour Hersh’s The Killing of Osama bin Laden a pocket-size collection of stories written for the London Review and printed during the second Obama administration arrives at an awkward moment for the expatriate journalist who not so long ago was esteemed as the finest investigative reporter in the United States. Hersh now publishes abroad because his talent, though undiminished, no longer fits into the publication plans of the nation’s newspaper and magazine publishers. He has, it appears, failed to adapt to the times. His revelations about deceit and brute force in the conduct of foreign affairs that delighted his editors when he raised a torch over Dick Cheney lost its shine when he reported on President’s Obama’s not-so-different Cold War liberalism.

The moment of Hersh’s fall from grace can be pinpointed to a meeting in the office of New Yorker editor David Remnick in 2011.
I had a good laugh at the sentence "Hersh now publishes abroad because his talent, though undiminished, no longer fits into the publication plans of the nation’s newspaper and magazine publishers." Maybe Wagner wrote this with a deliberate comic or satirical effect, but this way of describing what happened is an extremely obscure way of hiding the truth which is in direct contradiction to what Hersh's investigative work as been about. 

One Way The White House Manipulates

Click here to access article by Bernhard from Moon of Alabama.

Bernhard finds out from a major ruling capitalist class propagandist, Ben Rhodes, how they work their magic to gain the public's acquiescence and support for their policies.
You can replace the "Iran deal" with "regime-change in Syria", "Russia's aggression" or some big trade deal the White Hosue wants to push through. It works the same way with every issue. Some experts in some (well paid) thinktanks get fed some juicy bits, they go out to cheerlead clueless reporters who then write whatever validates the various White House claims.

It is all test driven and works. Unless of course people have time and energy to inform themselves through other than the usual sources. Only few are able to do so.

War Against the People

Click here to access a review by Kit Klarenberg of a book by the above title authored by Jeff Halper, and posted on CounterPunch.

Halper explains how Israel has become a laboratory used to research and develop weapons to control and suppress populations, and is marketing their products to oppressive governments all over the world.
As a starting point, Halper notes that Israel currently maintains diplomatic relationships with 157 countries. In every instance, those relationships contain military and security treaties and agreements, which serve to spread Israeli killing apparatuses, surveillance ‘solutions’ and battle tactics worldwide. This accounts for why the tiny country is now a seemingly permanent fixture in lists of the world’s top arms exporters, and the most militarised state in the world.

Evidently, Israel’s oppressive methods have stopped being bad for business. In fact, they’ve mutated into a unique selling point, and have bought much criticism-stifling goodwill from Israel’s customers in the process. Why?

Halper attributes this phenomenon to a global move towards weaponised neoliberalism the world over post-9/11, as governments scramble to suppress internal dissent that their iniquitous economic and military policies create.

Future Options: From Militarism And Monsanto To Gandhi And Bhaskar Save

Click here to access article by Colin Todhunter from his blog East by Northwest

Because this Britisher lived a number of years in India, he knows a lot about the disastrous effects that industrialized agricultural corporations have had on that country. To counter these disastrous effects on the minds of citizens, he writes how corporations manage the growing opposition to their destructive but very profitable practices.
...to ensure it remains ‘business as usual’, part of the message is that there is no alternative to the chemical-intensive, GMO model of farming. ...the companies they head or their associates have done everything possible (including bribery and fakery) to ensure their model dominates by smearing certain scientists, capturing trade bodies and negotiations, incorporating themselves within government policy and regulatory agencies, using the concept of ‘commercial confidentiality’ to justify a lack of transparency and by funding universities, media outlets and research with the ultimate aim of privileging their model of agriculture ahead of others, which they or their supporters seek to attack, discredit and marginalise.

The industry and its supporters attempt to wrap themselves in ‘free market’ ideology, while failing to acknowledge that any concept of ‘freedom’ that they attempt to associate with ‘the market’ has long been discredited.

The Fort McMurray Disaster: Getting Beyond “Is It Climate Change?”

Click here to access article by Bob Henson and Jeff Masters from Weather Underground.

...even the most elaborate, carefully conducted attribution studies (research designed to show how and when climate change has made a particular event more likely) may not always give the conclusive results people crave when it comes to specific fires and floods--although such work can say quite a bit about long-term trends.

Thursday, May 5, 2016

Pentagon working on plan to convert the Islamic State caliphate into a US-backed Syrian rebel redoubt

Click here to access article by Stephen Gowans from his blog What's Left.

I regard Stephen Gowans as a top tier political analyst, and I regard this piece as an illustration of his excellent skills at parsing what the deception-infused US policy really is in Syria and nearby areas. It attempts, and I believe succeeds, to clear up the many mysteries and strange reports regarding our actions in Syria and adjacent areas.

Because Syria has tried to pursue policies that are independent of the Empire's interests, they have become a target for destabilization and regime change much like Yugoslavia, Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya, and Ukraine. Now it appears that Venezuela has been re-added to the Empire's list.
The motto of the governing Ba’ath Party [the ruling party in the Syrian government], unity (of the Arab nation), liberty (from foreign domination), and socialism, is light years from the motto Washington would prefer states emblazon on their banners. We embrace atomism, welcome foreign investment, apotheosize capitalism, and are open to US military bases on our territory, is more along the lines of a motto a good member of the “international community” is expected to adopt. You need know little more than the foregoing to understand why Washington insists that Assad and his fellow Ba’athists step down.
He goes on to delineate the Empire's strategy and objectives for Syria:
The Wall Street Journal sketched out how the United States will carry on its war against the Syrian state. Reading between the lines, the war will be pursued under the guise of eliminating ISIS, and while this will be the immediate outcome of the war if the campaign is successful, the ultimate objective will be the conquest of Syrian territory held by the caliphate. The war will be pursued on the ground by Sunni Arab fighters trained and equipped by the special operations forces of the United States and its allies. US proxies on the ground—the Sunni Arab fighters recruited and equipped by the Pentagon—will capture territory currently held by ISIS, backed by US air strikes. Once captured, the territory will remain in the hands of the US surrogates.

Mighty Monsanto: Veteran cartoonist fired for pro-farmer, anti-Big Ag piece

Click here to access article from RT.

This type of incident happens everyday in capitalist countries even though most people insist that they have a right of free speech, etc, guaranteed by their constitutions. If you examine many constitutions of various capitalist countries you will find many such freedoms listed, but these constitutions are only a part of the ideological structure which promises freedoms but deny them in practice. 

This subterfuge is simply due to the fact that enormous wealth and control over jobs give capitalists overwhelming power. Thus, whenever the exercise of these "freedoms" become in conflict with the interests of powerful capitalists, the freedoms give way. Most people know this and modify their behavior to suit powerful capitalist interests, but this cartoonist thought he had a constitutional right to create this cartoon and others for a local newspaper. Thus his job, or his means of living, was taken away from him. The moral of this story is that you have lots of theoretical freedoms under capitalism, but you must be willing to starve to death to exercise them.

Here’s the Climate Context For the Fort McMurray Wildfire

Click here to access article by Brian Kahn from Climate Central

I looked long and hard for any commentaries about the relationship between the fire conflagration in Fort McMurray and global warming. This is one of the few. Most other corporate media are feasting on the sensational aspects of this event, some try to figure out the causes but have a very limited perspective by focusing on the immediate causes, some attribute the increasing fires to a "new normal" climate, and Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau criticized people who made a  connection with global warming. I've noticed that local TV meteorologists in the Seattle area, if they make a connection at all to the record breaking temperatures we've been experiencing, correctly deny that any single event can be traced to global warming; but yet they refuse to look at patterns over time.

This article provides the best analysis of the relationship, but it only makes some brief references.
The wildfire is the latest in a lengthening lineage of early wildfires in the northern reaches of the globe that are indicative of a changing climate. As the planet continues to warm, these types of fires will likely only become more common and intense as spring snowpack disappears and temperatures warm.
“This (fire) is consistent with what we expect from human-caused climate change affecting our fire regime,” Mike Flannigan, a wildfire researcher at the University of Alberta, said.
I think that the fire conflagration at Fort McMurray is giving us a look into our future. Unfortunately, most people, especially our ruling capitalist class, refuse to acknowledge this simply because capitalism and a planet that can support human life are completely incompatible. Capitalist indoctrinated people frequently can imagine the end of humans before they can imagine the end of capitalism.

As Climate Disruption Advances, UN Warns: "The Future Is Happening Now"

Click here to access article by Dahr Jamail from TruthOut.
Each month as I write these dispatches, I shake my head in disbelief at the rapidity at which anthropogenic climate disruption (ACD) is occurring. It's as though each month I think, "It can't possibly keep happening at this incredible pace."

But it does.

Wednesday, May 4, 2016

The Voting Delusion

Click here to access article by Dmitry Orlov from Club Orlov.

Orlov lists many of the barriers preventing ordinary people (non-capitalists) from participating in elections, but he misses the 800 pound gorilla that guarantees that nobody interferes with the capitalist agenda to gain more wealth and power. 

The gorilla is capitalism, a system that a tiny group of people imposed through violence on the vast majority of humans over the past several centuries. Their system enshrines the right to take possession under rules of "ownership" of all the products and services created by working people. The capitalist ruling class have sought to legitimatize their dominance of society mainly by establishing the so-called "rule of law", and of course these rules, which they made, were designed to serve and protect their system of ownership. And they have many other means that they use to promote the legitimacy of their rule: their domination over every institution of society which they use to indoctrinate people in pro-capitalist values, especially the fake mythology of democracy and their sponsorship of elections. The capitalist class monopoly on the means of indoctrination has been so successful that many critics like Orlov completely miss this 800 pound gorilla.

Capitalism is a system born in the belly of feudalism. Feudalism was based on territory captured through the use of violence imposed on people who lived in those territories. Theirs was a system controlled by these victorious families who laid claim to everything that existed in the territory under their control: the food and crafts produced by working people and on the people themselves. This form of family domination was passed down through patrilineal and primogeniture rules which established the permanent power hierarchy known as monarchs and aristocracy. This ruling class reinforced the legitimacy of their rule by promulgating myths about the "divine right" of monarchs, and religion in general had a very important role in buttressing the rule of feudal authorities.

Feudalism was born in the belly of the rule by military chieftains who imposed violence on others to obtain war booty, slaves, etc. Such is the history of humans, about 2% of human history called "civilization", after the days when primitive communism existed for 98% of our history, but then ceased to exist after military chieftains imposed their violence on humans.

No doubt you have detected a pattern: the history of ruling classes are all ultimately based on violence or the threat of violence imposed by a tiny minority on the vast majority of humans. All else is subterfuge. And this includes elections.

Extinction, “De-Extinction,” and Capitalism

Click here to access a 52 minute interview with Ashley Dawson, author of a new book entitled Extinction: A Radical History. The interview begins after a news summary at approximately 6:30m. The broadcast is from the studios of KPFA, a listener sponsored radio station in Berkeley, California.
What should we do in the face of the ongoing extinction crisis? What is rewilding, and how does it work? Is de-extinction, which involves the resurrection of extinct species, advisable? Ashley Dawson puts mass extinction and the various efforts to address it in a broader political-economic context.
Dawson targets capitalism as the culprit behind the mass extinction of life forms that is increasing at a rapid rate in spite of various attempts by advocates of  "green capitalism" to preserve species. A very thought provoking interview throughout, but he specifically draws our attention to the destructive role of capitalism starting at 36:25m.

Another goodbye to democracy if Transatlantic Partnership is passed

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

I presume he means the anemic version of "democracy" that our masters permit us to exercise--like having to choose between Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton.
Corporate control on both sides of the Atlantic will be solidified should the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership be passed. Any doubt about that was removed when Greenpeace Netherlands released 13 chapters of the TTIP text, although the secrecy of the text and that only corporate representatives have regular access to negotiators had already made intentions clear.
 Health, safety, environmental and food laws will all be at risk....

A 9/11 "Dog That Didn't Bark"

Click here/ to access article by John Spritzler from New Democracy World.

In this brief article Spritzler focuses our attention on only one among many doubtful aspects of the whole 9/11 tragedy that suggests a conspiracy was involved to commit one of the grossest crimes against humanity in the nefarious history of false-flag operations.

The true anti-semites, past and present

Click here to access article by Jonathan Cook from his Blog from Nazareth.

Cook examines the latest attempt to smear the new British Labor party leader, Jeremy Corbyn, with the Empire's favorite brush of "antisemitism" that Empire agents frequently uses against their adversaries. His examination takes us behind the history of antisemitism that offers a new understanding of how it all began. From there he concludes with Finkelstein's argument that...
the “new anti-semitism” canard is likely – and possibly intended – to fuel the very anti-semitism that it claims to be exposing and challenging.

Tuesday, May 3, 2016

Arctic sea ice is falling off a cliff and it may not survive the summer

Click here to access article from Robertscribbler.
...during the first decade of the the 21st Century the mainstream scientific view was that Arctic sea ice would be about in the range that it is today by around 2070 or 2080. And that we wouldn’t be contemplating the possibility of zero or near zero sea ice until the end of this Century.

But the amazing ability of an unconscionable fossil fuel emission to rapidly transform our world for the worst appears now to outweigh that cautious science.
We in the northwest of the United States no longer need to read scientific sources to know that climate change destabilization is real. We've experienced record breaking temperatures nearly every week for the past month. Some records were smashed by as much as 10 degrees Fahrenheit. It is now clear that positive feedback loops are in operation to accelerate the climate temperatures upward. Have we reached the point of no return or tipping point of this destabilization? There is no scientific consensus on this frightening question, but the evidence keeps mounting in support of this position.

For an excellent video discussion of this prospect, I recommend that you view a 43:57m video that was posted on National Geographic's website in November 2015. The video is structured around the five stages of grief, but I notice that in the final stage of acceptance the "patient", Bill Nye, starts engaging in hopeful scientific fantasies which I believe brings him back to stage one.

Of course nowhere in the presentation is any mention made of capitalism that is driving climate destabilization. The closest they come is some brief recognition that the fossil fuel industry will oppose any significant measures to construct indispensable new power and transportation infrastructures simply because they would require tremendous costs. The video actually charges science with the cause of climate destabilization, not the sacred cow of capitalism.

Another fantasy I have noticed is that some people imagine moving to other planets after they trash this one. Read this piece entitled "Scientists discover potentially habitable planets" in which they speculate that another planet may be habitable and it is "only" a little more than 40 light years away! Well, if we could travel at the speed of light (roughly about 186,000 miles per second) for 40 years, we could shove this planet in the dumpster and migrate to that planet.

Monday, May 2, 2016

The Bernie Fade Begins

Click here to access article by Paul Street from CounterPunch

As the quadrennial exercise in support of a "progressive" candidate within the Democratic Party comes to a close, Street offers his take on the meaning of it all. Street concludes his essay with the following hopeful statement:
“If voting made any difference,” the great American left anarchist Emma Goldman once said, “they’d make it illegal.” Elections, candidates, and parties come and go, though now the electoral extravaganza seems to last forever. Their outcomes are largely beyond our control. What is not outside our sphere of influence is the ability to build radical and durable people’s and workers’ power organizations that are ready, willing, and able to undertake what Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. called near the end of his life “the real issue to be faced: the radical reconstruction of society itself.”
I am not optimistic about any serious, long-term effort at organizing a movement whose main objective is "the radical reconstruction of society". I was left with this feeling yesterday after watching the coverage provided by a local TV station of the annual parade of workers celebrating May Day in Seattle. The TV reports were frequently reinforced with reports from police sources. Thus the cops were the good guys protecting us from the violence of anarchists even though many in the march did not wear black which denoted anarchist affiliation. There were no interviews with the marchers which were only presented as a threat to society. Indeed, the masks and other facial coverings they wore were highlighted to show them as a criminal threat instead of measures to protect themselves from being identified by the police and from further police harassment. A few windows were broken (who knows by whom) and the TV camera poured over this as an indication of the violent tendencies of the marchers.

Despite the organizers' attempts to not cooperate with authorities to prevent the latter from controlling the march, in the end the massive police force demonstrated that they had complete control of the march by herding the crowd where the police wanted them to go. I stopped watching the coverage when it became apparent that the marchers were being corralled and cornered by the police.

After watching this coverage, I was left with the feeling that the ruling class had the May Day march entirely under their control. Because there was no alternative media that people could turn to, most people watching this event were likely influenced by the TV-police themes that these May Day marchers were violent people who posed a threat to society. Thus, not only were the marchers under police control but the meaning of the march was completely controlled by the local authorities of the ruling class.

What was direly needed was an independent media source like an alternative radio station that people could turn to offer a real meaning to the march, and also to present a sharply different perspective that listeners/viewers could contrast with the one-sided police narrative and perspective provided by the corporate TV station. If there was any serious effort to promote a "radical reconstruction" of society, such alternative media would already be functioning and this workers day celebration would have served a truly revolutionary consciousness-raising purpose.

ALEPPO, SYRIA: Remember Benghazi Before You Buy the Latest Propaganda…

Click here to access article from The Burning Blogger Of Bedlam.
And just when you thought the situation in Syria was entering into a period of peace, negotiation and reconciliation, and that the propaganda and deception might die down for a while. 

Sunday, May 1, 2016

The demise of Sanders’ “political revolution”

Click here to access article by Patrick Martin from World Socialist Web Site
Sanders began his bid for the Democratic presidential nomination with no expectations of electoral success or even significant influence. His aim was to play the role of previous left-liberal candidates, like Dennis Kucinich and Al Sharpton, and use the presidential primary process to give the Democratic Party a “left” face. The Clinton campaign itself welcomed his participation, counting on Sanders to allow her to position herself as the “responsible progressive” during the primary contests.
.... His “political revolution” turned out to be nothing more than getting out the vote for the Democrats, his “socialism” merely warmed-over liberalism, without the slightest threat of any inroad against capitalist property.

Next Cold War Roundup 4/29/16

Click here to access article by Joanne Leon from Shadowproof

The author provides an excellent survey of the latest news reports related to events associated with Cold War II in which the Empire is battling both Russia and any significant independent movements that impede its global agenda of hegemony.

Panama Papers – Sheep-Dipped CIA Dirty Ops

Click here to access article by F. William Engdahl from New Eastern Outlook.

Although the investigative details provided by Engdahl do not appear to be original, still he puts all of them together in this tightly knit essay. See, for example, this article entitled "Why most of the Panama Papers have been kept in the dark?" by a Greek writer posted online by the unbalanced evolution of homo sapienson on April 13th. Also read today's article from the same online source, which argues that Panama Papers incident may signal a new tactic by Empire operatives:
The establishment could feed the mainstream information channels with huge amounts of controlled data, to overshadow crucial revelations by WikiLeaks, Snowden, or other truly independent whistleblowers, and gradually wipe them out from the field of the leak "industry". It's easy someone to understand that such a development would mean the end of real leaks and revelations.
The release of the Panama Papers for me always reeked of a psy-ops program that is so typical of the operations of the Empire's deep state.  The Empire's psy-ops agents seem to be active on daily basis to manipulate public opinion to support the interests of the ruling transnational capitalist class that forms the supporting foundation of the US-led Empire. The selective nature of corporate media coverage that used the Panama Papers disclosure to smear Putin and other figures who have not cooperated fully with Imperial directors was so obvious from the beginning. 

Engdahl's article connects the dots from a pro-NATO German media firm, Süddeutsche Zeitung, that first released this "leak", to a non-profit organization, International Consortium of Investigative Journalism, to a Washington DC-based Center for Public Integrity to funders such as the following:
  • George Soros’ Open Society Foundations
  • Rockefeller Brothers Fund
  • Rockefeller Family Fund
  • Carnegie Corporation
  • Ford Foundation
  • Foundation for National Progress, Soros-backed mother of Mother Jones
  • Fidelity Brokerage Services, second largest mutual fund in the world
And, finally to close the circle of this nefarious web of connections, Engdahl points to a co-founder of Mossack Fonseca, the offshore tax haven in Panama: he is a Nazi decedent who has worked for the CIA.

May Day 2016

Click here to access article by David Ruccio from Occasional Links & Commentary.

Today Is Our Day

Click here to access article by Jonah Walters from Jacobin

The author explains the history and significance of this day.