We’ve lived so long under the spell of hierarchy—from god-kings to feudal lords to party bosses—that only recently have we awakened to see not only that “regular” citizens have the capacity for self-governance, but that without their engagement our huge global crises cannot be addressed. The changes needed for human society simply to survive, let alone thrive, are so profound that the only way we will move toward them is if we ourselves, regular citizens, feel meaningful ownership of solutions through direct engagement. Our problems are too big, interrelated, and pervasive to yield to directives from on high.
—Frances Moore Lappé, excerpt from Time for Progressives to Grow Up

Saturday, August 6, 2016

Fooling Most of the People Most of the Time is What American Politics Are About, Even When it Comes to the Threat of Nuclear War

Click here to access article by John Chuckman from Uncommon Thought Journal
The fundamental problem in America’s government is an elaborate political structure much resembling democracy but with actual rule by a powerful establishment and a set of special interests – all supported by a monstrous security apparatus and a huge, lumbering military, which wouldn’t even know what to do with itself in peace.

Unfortunately, I don’t think there is any apparent solution to this horrible political reality, and, while once it affected primarily Americans themselves, today it affects the planet.

There is an intense new element that has been added to America’s governing establishment: the drive of the neo-cons for American supremacy everywhere, for complete global dominance, and it is something which is frighteningly similar to past drives by fascist governments which brought only human misery on a vast scale.

Friday, August 5, 2016

Alaskans Witness Collapsing Mountains, Shattered Lives

Click here to access article by Dahr Jamail from TruthOut.

The dramatic evidence of anthropogenic climate disruption (ACD) is everywhere in Alaska and nearby areas, but you wouldn't know it by following corporate media. Jamail in the early part of this report interviews students from Alaska who are studying in Washington state and they are frustrated by a total lack of concern evidenced by their fellow students when they try to tell them what is happening in Alaska. It seems that if corporate media doesn't report ACD, then it simply isn't happening.
"It's frustrating to experience this stuff first hand, and then [go] to college and meet folks who aren't even aware of this," he said. "I think the media is a big part of the problem, people just aren't paying attention because it's not in the news enough. I'm interested in climate change at my university, but there are a limited number of classes on it you can even take."
I think capitalist agents have long recognized this phenomenon of naiveté among American consumers of information (if something is not reported on TV, then it ain't happening!) provided by corporate media, and they are intentionally playing down the destabilization of the climate (along with the imperial adventures of the US) simply because capitalism requires growth and growth depends on relatively cheap fossil fuels. Whereas before they attacked scientists' findings and individual scientists who found strong evidence of global warming and its relationship with the burning of fossil fuel, nowadays they are ignoring the dramatic evidence of ACD that is becoming so obvious that they can't deny it any longer.

Independent Media Heads to New York to Confront NBC Over MSM Lies

Click here to access article by James Corbett from International Forecaster
...yet another provable lie circulated by anonymous military sources through their propaganda arm, the US mainstream media. This story is a pretty straightforward example of a psyop designed to be spread throughout Turkey and used to defuse the Turkish public’s violent counter reaction to the coup.
Then, of course, there is all the lying that officials engage in that are widely reported and go unchallenged in corporate media as illustrated in this piece entitled "The Propaganda War With Putin".

California Court Upholds a Method to Detect Election Fraud

Click here to access article by Bill Simpich from Reader Supported News.

Ordinary people are reporting more and more instances of voter fraud. 
A research paper on the subject of possible election fraud has been recently released. One of the collaborators was Fritz Schueren, former president of the American Statistical Association and a statistics professor at George Washington University. Schueren said, “As a statistician, I find the results of the 2016 primary election unusual. In fact, I found the patterns unexpected [and possibly even] suspicious.” 

Why “Twenty-First-Century Socialism” Failed

Click here to access article by Eva María from Jacobin

This article is overly long and I think you can skip most of the first part. Why the author provides extensive quotes from capitalist media about the economic crises affecting these countries is a mystery to me. 

To access some of answers to the question posed by the headline, I suggest that you skip down to the section entitled "Stuck in Capitalism". However, even here you will not find the unequivocal statement that socialism cannot be constructed in a state where the economy is primarily privately owned. The latter is what divides any society into two basic classes: capitalists and workers, and the latter typically divides into working class and middle class which is paid more and tends to identify with the ruling capitalist class (much like Malcolm X's description of "field niggers" and "house niggers". Native capitalists, especially when backed by the US-led Empire, will always find a way to scuttle such social democratic experiments. 

Thursday, August 4, 2016

A Thousand Li: an introduction to a three part series on China; and Part 1

Click here to access article by Chuang, "a collective of communists who consider the 'China question' to be of central relevance to the contradictions of the world’s economic system and the potentials for its overcoming."

This introduces an attempt to understand China's history from a materialist point of view and where it might be headed. Both the introduction and the first part are quite lengthy, and sometimes abstract, but I think it is worthy of study by anyone what seriously wants to understand China and its increasing role in the world's economy. There has been far too little from authentic sources in English which attempts to do that. 
In this journal, our goal is to formulate a body of clear-headed theory capable of understanding contemporary China and its potential trajectories. In this first issue, we outline our basic conceptual framework and illustrate the current state of class conflict in China. We also include translated reports and interviews with the proletarians engaged in these struggles, pairing our theory with primary sources drawn from class dynamics that might otherwise remain abstract. In general, we see our project as part of the recent revival in Marxist theory in the English-speaking world, sparked by the economic crisis of 2008 and the struggles that followed. More specifically, our theoretical framework is drawn from the work of similar editorial collectives such as Endnotes, Sic, Kosmoprolet and others who speak of communism in the present tense. One of our goals is to expand this framework beyond the US and Europe. At the same time, we hope to add to the global perspective of this theory by examining the implications of Chinese economic trends outside of China.

To understand the living, however, one must first turn to the lost. Though taking the present moment as our starting point, we are also in a way performing burial rites for the dead generations who have populated the collapse of the communist horizon in East Asia. This issue therefore opens with a long-form article on the socialist era, “Sorghum and Steel: The Socialist Developmental Regime and the Forging of China,” the first in a three-part series aiming to narrate a new materialist history of modern China (the next two parts will be included in subsequent issues).
 

The Exoneration of Milosevic: the ICTY’s Surprise Ruling

Click here to access article by Andy Wilcoxson from CounterPunch

Milosevic had to spend five years in prison before he died under very suspicious circumstances, and then it took another five years for the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY--located at The Hague, Netherlands) to find him not guilty. It took all this time after many years of Milosevic's vilification in Western media to furnish a verdict exonerating him. So, do corporate media in the US-led Empire report this? See for yourself.

The world’s 1,826 billionaires

Click here if you wish to directly access this brief article by economist David Ruccio from his blog Occasional Links & Commentary


According to a new study, The Geography of the Global Super-Rich, by Richard Florida, Charlotta Mellander, and Isabel Ritchie, the United States is home to the world’s largest number of billionaires, with 541, 30 percent of the total. China is second with 223 or 12 percent. Next in line are India and Russia, with 82 billionaires (4.5 percent) each. Germany is fifth with 78 billionaires (4.3 percent). The United Kingdom is sixth with 71 (3.9 percent). Switzerland has 58 (4.3 percent), Brazil 50 (2.7 percent), France 39 (2.1 percent), and Italy 35 (1.9 percent).
Just to put things in perspective, the world’s 1,826 billionaires make up just 0.00003 percent of the global population.

Wednesday, August 3, 2016

America’s Election 2016: War, Globalization and “Fake Democracy”

Click here to access article by Abayomi Azikiwe from Global Research.

The author describes the efforts of the two capitalist parties in their recent conventions to engage in fakery to deceive the overwhelming majority of Americans into voting for one of their capitalist candidates and therefore voting against their real interests. He concludes by writing:
The only solution lies in the formation of a mass party of the working class and oppressed which speaks directly for and in the interests of the people. What we can expect from the Democrats and the Republicans is much of the same propaganda and broken promises. The future resides with the efforts of the exploited and the oppressed when they are organized, mobilized and deployed in their own name.
I agree with the last sentence, but not the first because such a party will never be allowed to participate in any capitalist controlled elections.

In another article by the same author, I particularly liked this very insightful observation about the parties that are allowed to participate in elections in the US and Britain:
Although the capitalist parties in Britain and the U.S. are facing internal rebellions from both the right and the social democratic left, these institutions appear to have outlasted their functionality as instruments for the social containment of the working class and the nationally oppressed. This is why even the semblance of bourgeois or parliamentary democracy are absent within the context of intra-party affairs. Trump can walk in and take over the Republican Party without ever having to hold public office. Clinton with her laundry list of indiscretions and racism towards African Americans and other oppressed peoples is being sold to the electorate as a defender of “diversity” and stability. 

The Mainstream Media Has a Plan to Stop ISIS — but There’s Just One Problem

Click here to access article by Darius Shahtahmasebi from AntiMedia

In this well-argued essay backed by solid documentation, the author sees the plan's problem as one of disinformation propagated by Western media: "...statements of this kind are the epitome of lazy, pro-corporate media nonsense." Hence the plan is nonsense, or another example of Empire propaganda to justify their efforts to sow destabilization and fragmentation of existing unfriendly states in the region.

Unapproved GM Wheat Contamination In Washington State

Click here to access article by Brandon Turbeville from Natural Blaze

Although this could theoretically be more of local interest, the article reports on what has happened in a variety of places across the US and Canada. (I am a resident of Washington state.)
The plants are a form of GM wheat that had been planted and researched in “limited field trials” in the Pacific Northwest between 1998 and 2001. In other words, at least 12 years after the trials were conducted. The GM wheat is popping up all across the country, interestingly enough, in increasing amounts. It has long been argued by critics of GMOs that introducing dangerous types of biotechnology would not only pose a risk to human health, but also provide the potential for a irreversible contamination of the natural environment.

Monsanto’s ticking time bombs now appear to be detonating more than two decades after Americans were told to stop being paranoid about the dangers of GMOs that “science” assured them did not exist. It is now time for Americans to realize that major corporations, “scientists,” and their government does not always have their best interest at heart.
When Americans fully realize that this capitalist ruling class never "have their best interests at heart" in relation to almost any issue, then they will be ready to transform their nation into one that serves all of the people--not merely one tiny class of owners.

Tuesday, August 2, 2016

Abby Martin interviews Rafael Correa, President of Ecuador

from the Empire Files/TeleSur via YouTube.

In this interview you will learn what developing countries have to deal with from highly developed, powerful countries like the US, their corporations, and the international tribunals that they control.
Published on Jul 29, 2016
Abby Martin sits down with the President of Ecuador to talk about different issues impacting the country and region. One of the more important questions Abby has for the president is finding out how he feels about devastating damage that oil giant Chevron caused in the Amazon rainforest. The president also talks about how tax havens are affecting developing economies and, how giving me the environment legal rights is important.

 
You might also be interested in reading this article entitled "Ecuador Foreign Minister: $3B in Tax Havens Could Fund Earthquake Reconstruction" from TeleSur.

Capitalist sponsored Olympics

by Brian McFadden

Monday, August 1, 2016

America's Self-Inflicted Defense [sic] Woes

Click here to access article by Ulson Gunnar from New Eastern Outlook.

Let me be absolutely clear as to why I am posting this article. It is an illustration of wordage used by the ruling capitalist class to confuse issues and mislead the public, but adopted by "alternative" writers and end up by diluting their anti-establishment themes. 

If the ruling class agents can't totally get you to think that the pursuit of murder and mayhem throughout the world in pursuit of wealth and power for a ruling class is good for ordinary people of the US, then at least they will settle for confusing the issues by introducing new definitions to words that formerly damned their rule. But if they don't succeed in doing that, they seem to be satisfied with emptying many such words of any meaning beyond merely vague buzz words that serve only to vent anger in ways that are harmless to our masters. First, let me proceed with such an analysis of this article, and then I will generalize to many others.

He uses the world "defense" throughout the article. It is a term used by our masters to re-define their imperialist adventures into one of defending the US. Of course, it is obvious that this is an example of "newspeak" which Orwell came to understand through his experience while fighting fascism in Spain and Britain. It is no coincidence that the term was adopted as in "Department of Defense" after WWII. This is precisely when the US capitalist class launched their drive to dominate the world and exclude any kind of workers state such as the Soviet Union and aspired to by many millions across the globe especially after the devastation of WWII.

Gunnar by using the term "defense" instead of imperialism serves to soften the issue by implying that the heavy investment in the F-35A was simply a gross mistake instead of arguing that under capitalism the drive for profits even trumps the drive for military superiority. He also obscures the issue of class interest by using a more abstract term of "America". To his credit he does slowly and rather timidly develop the argument that the pursuit of the F-35A weapon was pushed by business interests. But this argument could serve liberal arguments about the need to reform government by electing more Democrats who supposedly represent the broader interests of ordinary Americans instead of arguing that the very class nature of capitalist rule (especially in its advanced form that has infected the US capitalist class) is the root cause of wars and imperialism. 

Now on to other articles that serve to obscure and confuse ordinary people. The Bernie Sanders campaign was framed as promoting socialism. This was an effort to redefine a word that has been a dream for the past 150 years of many millions across the globe to bring their economies under public ownership and control. Instead his campaign clearly used the word as meaning a welfare state that promoted many programs for the poor, unemployed, and workers in general--but all within the system of capitalist rule.

Then there are the words "fascism" and "capitalism". Many who pose as radical writers on the left use these words as only buzz words to lamely refer to bad things instead of explaining to people what they mean precisely in the context of class rule and class interests. 

It is no accident that the term "fascism" has been given so many meanings by various writers. Once people understand that fascism is simply capitalism with the soft gloves of civil rights and legal processes (as practiced by capitalist authorities) removed, then they understand why capitalist nations devolve into fascism whenever their tiny class rule is under threat. Hence the term has been reduced to a buzz word that only serves to vent emotion instead of creating understanding of political realities. The same applies to "capitalism" as currently used by many critics who merely pose as anti-establishment critics. The latter never explain that being opposed to capitalism means being opposed to the private ownership and control of an economy; and under advanced capitalism, this means ownership and control of the economy by a tiny class of people and leaving the vast majority up to their necks in debt (to the latter). Thus the sharp class conflicts that pervade most all important contemporary issues are obscured and confused. 

Given this (intentional) confusion of communication, it is no surprise to me that the political thinking in the US is so confused and rudimentary as exhibited by the Green Party in today's article by Pete Dolack. Taking to the streets as advocated by Dolack is not enough anymore. Only a well-organized revolution organized by the grass-roots will suffice to change things.

Who really won the legal battle between Philip Morris and Uruguay?

Click here to access article by Cecilia Olivet and Alberto Villareal from ISDS Platform.
The David-Goliath battle between Uruguay and Philip Morris is an iconic case because it so clearly illustrates the way corporations can use international investment treaties to attack regulations made in the public interest.

So does Big Tobacco’s defeat by Uruguay mean that the growing public opposition to these investment treaties is mistaken? The corporate arbitration lawyers that take up many of the cases – and their supportive political allies – are keen to say that it proves the system can work fairly.

The question however is for whom is the system working? In investment arbitration cases, states never win. States can never file lawsuits against investors, so the best-case scenario for them is if the tribunal dismisses the investor’s accusations.

The GMO Debate: One Student’s Experience of Pro-GMO Propaganda at Cornell University

Click here to access article by Robert Schooler from Independent Science News

Schooler tells of his experience as a serious student and the numerous difficulties he encountered while rationally trying to understand issues of climate change, food, and farming practices. He is not giving up, but I wish him luck because he will need tons of it.
We live in somewhat of a scientific dark age. Our universities have become extensions of corporate power, at the cost of our health, livelihoods, and ecology. This has to stop, yesterday. We cannot afford to spread lies to our undergraduate students. Cornell, please reconsider your ways. Until you do, I will be doing everything in my power to counter your industry GMO propaganda efforts with the facts.
The reality is that a capitalist organized society is one which ultimately in its advanced form imposes the logic of profitability in all institutions and over every other value--even the continued existence of humans.

Sunday, July 31, 2016

How the West Extends its Control Over Journalism Worldwide

Click here to access article from The New Atlas (based in Bangkok, Thailand).

This offers a lot of food for thought. It's directly about the power of "Western" nations to impose their perspectives on the rest of the world; but by extension, given that we live in class structured nations, it is more about the management of minds or thoughts of subordinate populations by powerful/wealthy people. But the unknown author doesn't go to this extension, nor does he/she seem to see that we all live in class-structured societies. Instead, he reaches the conclusion that journalism (or the management of peoples' minds) should serve local governing/powerful people based in nations.

Then there is the psychological fact that humans are quite easily seduced by wealth and the power that accompanies wealth. And capitalism along with cheap fossil fuels has greatly promoted the concentration of tremendous wealth into a relatively few owners of capital. The seduction factor in human nature has led many humans to accept, and adapt to, all kinds of inequality; and in this historical era, to serve the interests of powerful capitalists. 

Unfortunately, power very much acts like a drug or aphrodisiac that drives people who have it to commit all kinds of crimes to gain more power. There is never enough power for people, especially those with sociopathic tendencies, who easily become addicted to it. This results in wars where competing powerful people seek to gain more power. And the effects of wars especially in this era of frightful mega-weapons is becoming unthinkable.

This thought process has long ago led me to my political position. The only solution, as I see it, is to construct societies governed by radical bottom-up authority structures in which ordinary people in small groups of about 8-12 deliberate issues in face-to-face situations. They delegate people, who can be quickly recalled, to represent their views at the next governing level, and so on. This arrangement would require that all people are educated to the best of their abilities and that societies should be much smaller than they are now. Whether this arrangement would be still possible anymore given the need to radically reduce our use of fossil fuels which makes possible so much leisure time to become educated is debatable.