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, October 8, 2016
Just as Pepe Escobar, the Brazilian journalist, has justifiably dubbed the US Empire as the Empire of Chaos, we might also justifiably add another moniker to its collection: the "Empire of Deception". Currently we are seeing the capitalist directors who rule the Empire engaging in all manner of deceptions in addition to outright military force to accomplish their agenda of world domination in service to their interests of profit and power.
I suspect that this is due not only to their natural propensity to be aggressive and imperialistic in search of more profitable opportunities, but also their compulsive propensity to borrow money from the money manufacturers in the privately owned central banks of the world to gamble on future profitable opportunities. (In WWI the American ruling class directors saw the necessity of preparing ordinary Americans to enter the European war because they feared that their allies, Britain and France, to whom they had lent so much money, might very well lose the war. They subsequent launched a huge anti-German propaganda campaign to enlist the support of ordinary Americans for entering the war.) This latter habit has caused them to accumulate mountains of debts to investors. The history of capitalism has seen many examples of their preferred solution to this problem: to wage wars against other nations to steal their resources and exploit their labor. However this solution presents another problem: how to rally their subjects to support such wars.
Well, the obvious and common solution is to lie to their subjects about what they are doing. Nowadays we see corporate media hammering away at the evil acts and intentions of their favorite target, Russia, because the latter country is interfering in their project to overthrow another country in the Middle East that pursues independent policies. However, the capitalist Empire controllers have created many other sorts of deceptions to fool their subjects and the subjects of their targeted nations to support their interests.
We have seen the extensive use of NGOs in the various "color revolutions". We have seen the use of false-flag incidents in a variety of places to motivate people to support their interests. We have see their sponsorship of terrorist agents and armies in their attempts to accomplish regime change in places like Ukraine and currently in Syria. And, there have many many other ways that these profit and power obsessed directors have used to accomplish their destructive aims--there is even a name for it: "Full Spectrum Dominance". We can learn about the many forms of this warfare from F. William Engdahl, a noted geopolitical analyst, who has written a book entitled Full Spectrum Dominance: Totalitarian Democracy in the New World Order.
Officials with the US State Department have repeatedly talked of “non-diplomatic options” recently in Syria. Though they’re trying to be coy, what they’re really talking about is overt military action against the Syrian government, attacks which would threaten Russian forces embedded with them, and likely drag Russia into a shooting war with the US.
Russia’s Defense Ministry was quick to urge caution today, noting that they’d recently deployed air defense systems into Syria specifically to counter the threat of US attack, and that the US should “carefully” consider the potential consequences of launching such strikes.
As the public has grown slightly more adept at identifying pro-war propaganda and combating it, the war machine has had to switch up its tactics a bit. The war in Syria is a very cloudy topic for most Americans: they know a war is taking place but aren’t quite clear who all the belligerents are or who-supports-who. It’s no coincidence that the war in Syria virtually gets no US media coverage unless Russia kills civilians. As long as citizens aren’t educating themselves on the Syrian war and exactly how the US is involved, the US can continue to push out the heavy pro-intervention propaganda without virtually anyone noticing.
Friday, October 7, 2016
Thursday, October 6, 2016
What I'd like to point out in this post is its essential liberal orientation regarding the ongoing imperial adventure of the US-led Empire in Syria and adjacent regions. In so doing, I want to make myself absolutely clear: this website is excellent in reporting the many truths about the nefarious operations of the Empire, and I have posted many of their articles on my website. This article is not an exception because it points to so many factual truths about US operations in the region. But Consortium News in general and this article in particular illustrate the furthest one can go as a liberal critic in the US and throughout the US Empire.
Notice that Parry (the editor) attributes the US operations in Syria and the recent "U.S. escalation of conflicts against Syria and nuclear-armed Russia" as coming from only a group in the government. Later in the article he defines this group as "neocons and their liberal-hawk sidekicks". For whatever reason Parry stops well short to depict our official government as anything other than the real government. By limiting such actions of the Empire to only one segment of the official US government, he avoids any kind of deep structural analysis of a highly organized system that could be operating behind the scenes.
With this in mind I would like to draw attention to a list of topics which are not permitted to social and political critics. You might consider this a line in the sand that critics dare not cross without some negative consequences emanating from the real hidden government or the fascist deep state (see this and this commentary) that exists behind the scenes. Many stop well short of this line in the sand for fear of consequences--especially to their careers.
- Thou shalt not argue or imply that there exists an invisible government operating behind the scenes of the official government that really rules the US, and by extension, its Empire.
- Thou shalt not seriously expose the major crimes of the deep state such as the assassinations of John and Robert Kennedy, Martin Luther King, etc, and their engineering of the 9/11 tragedy.
- Thou shalt not engage in any fundamental criticism of capitalism or make any assertion that capitalist governance masquerades as a democracy.
Now I grant that some otherwise sincere critics will intentionally limit their views because they want to appeal to a wider segment of the largely brainwashed population that is unaware of the true nature of our rule and the many crimes committed by the ruling capitalist class. They also might want to protect themselves from harmful economic consequences.
First of all, I would like to express my total dislike of the writing style of this author. The otherwise excellent exposé of corporate media spreading propaganda from a prime Empire organization is degraded by a writing style that drips with cynicism and appears to be motivated by the need to appear very clever to those "in the know" about such things. But let me salvage what is excellent in this article.
Butler correctly alludes to the fact that the Atlantic Council is a prime ruling class organization that serves the US-led Empire. The Atlantic Council is, at the very least, a key organizational branch as NATO is a key military agency of the Empire. As current evidence he cites the recent Obama appointment of the former chairman of the Council to serve as his National Security Advisor.
Then he reports that a major news corporation, Newsweek, picks up a propaganda piece from the Atlantic Council entitled "Vilify and Amplify: How the Kremlin’s Disinformation Machine is Attacking the MH17 Probe" and runs it in their publication. This latter article argues that Putin's government is using trolls to spread disinformation about the downing of MH17 over Ukraine in 2014. Hence the Newsweek article is spreading information from what Butler alleges is a troll source, the Atlantic Council, that is projecting onto the Russians what the Council is in fact doing.
This method of projection is becoming a common strategy used by Empire media to distract their subject populations from the Empire's own crimes. Butler's revelation also serves as an excellent illustration of how corporate media is so thoroughly integrated into Empire operations; and that they function not as news organizations anymore, but propaganda organs to support the Empire's imperial operations.
There has been a vast increase of charitable foundations in the last several decades. McGoey, a lecturer of sociology at the University of Essex in Britain, has studied this phenomenon with special focus on the Gates Foundation.
Foundations provide benefit to the rich by reducing their taxes and simultaneously giving them the power to allocate their money in crucial areas of health, education, and welfare. This in essence is a way to give more power to the rich over the public services which were designed to ameliorate the worst features of capitalist rule and to educate the youth of the nation.
In an era of massive cuts to social services, the largesse of the wealthy seems a blessing. But what do the rich get in return for their philanthropy? Linsey McGoey argues that they receive both financial benefits and great influence over policy. She traces the history of philanthropy in the United States and discusses the Gates Foundation’s role in shaping primary and secondary school education, pharmaceutical patents, and more — with very little media scrutiny.
Wednesday, October 5, 2016
Street's remarks about the urgency to stop capitalists from destroying our habitat is very good, however his comments about "how to stop capitalism's deadly war with nature" is weak and abstract.
No intelligent person should mourn the demise of a “system that consumes unpaid natures as a condition of its existence.” As Moore almost casually observes in the middle of his monograph: “Calls for capital to pay the ‘true costs’ of resource use ... are to be welcomed, because such calls directly contradict capital’s fundamental logic. To call for capital to pay its own way is to call for the abolition of capitalism.” Let the calls spread wide and far. A system based on private profit from the uncompensated and geocidal extraction of massive value from the earth and its inhabitants surely deserves to die.
But it’s no time for dancing in the streets. We can’t skip the barricades and the hard work of making revolutionary change. There remains the question of how to develop and spread an alternative, popular, democratic and eco-socialist model of human development to ensure human survival and to prevent a reversion to sheer barbarism amid capitalism’s pestilential burnout.
The conference was hosted by a post-socialist environment with the purpose to bring together degrowth conversations from different Eastern European regions. To facilitate this process several preparatory meetings were organised throughout the region. In line with this regional focus, the conference drew from Eastern European degrowth thinkers such as Karl Polanyi, Ivan Illich, Nicholas Georgescu-Roegen and André Gorz.I urge you to forego the transcript by listening to Susan Paulson as she reads her opening poem and delivers her following remarks. Below is the hour and half session via YouTube, but her introduction and presentation is from 6:12m to 8:37m.
This article serves another purpose than the one indicated in the title: describing the extensive use of deceptive propaganda to engineer public approval for Empire policies in Syria. It also provides a good review for those who have not been following events in Syria during the past several years for various reasons.
I thoroughly agree with the author that the events in Syria have seen a rather dramatic escalation in the use of deceptive propaganda that media corporations have been using to justify the Empire's and their Mideast medieval allies' involvement in the overthrow of the Syrian government. During my preceding 60 years of watching corporate reports, I have never seen the extent of outright fabrications used in corporate media which support the many deceptions created by the Empire and its allies as we see today. As the US-led Empire and Russia edge ever closer to war (see also this), the American public seem unaware or unconcerned of where this could be heading. Also this growing conflict is not discussed in the so-called debates between major candidates in the run-up to the elections.
A U.S. court has sided with the Pentagon that it does not have to publicly release the names of attendees from the training school, formerly known as the School of the Americas, on Friday.The Empire's court apparently didn't consider the safety of citizens throughout Latin America who are often targeted by those attending their "assassins'" school.
The infamous military school was a training ground for dictators, death squad members, and torturers, fueling human rights abuses and coups across Latin America, earning it the moniker “the School of the Assassins.”
Tuesday, October 4, 2016
This report reveals that unknown Empire agencies are using PR firms to organize fake organizations such as the White Helmets as a means to furnish propaganda support for Empire efforts to overthrow the Syrian government. Typical of liberal authors who tend to downplay any cynical or devious hidden motives and designs of capitalist ruling class authorities, Blumenthal writes:
...a careful look at the origins and operation of The Syria Campaign raises doubts about the outfit’s image as an authentic voice for Syrian civilians, and should invite serious questions about the agenda of its partner organizations as well. [my emphasis]But we soon learn of some very suspicious observations that this organization supports the same objectives of the Empire to create "no-fly zones" and "safe zones" which are a stealthy way of dismembering Syria:
The Syria Campaign has been careful to cloak interventionism in the liberal-friendly language of human rights, casting Western military action as “the best way to support Syrian refugees,” and packaging a no-fly zone — along with so-called safe zones and no bombing zones, which would also require Western military enforcement — as a “way to protect civilians and defeat ISIS.”If you are willing to wade through this lengthy report, you will discover that a billionaire Syrian-born British oil tycoon, the Rockefellers, and subversive ruling class nonprofit organizations such as Purpose are behind the efforts of The Syria Campaign. So, do you still have doubts?
Among The Syria Campaign’s most prominent vehicles for promoting military intervention is a self-proclaimed "unarmed and impartial" civil defense group known as the White Helmets.
Monday, October 3, 2016
In the monograph Green Capitalism: The God that Failed, published by the World Economics Association (2016), and in a series of papers in Real-World Economics Review (2015; 2013; 2011; 2010), Richard Smith has set out a stark and unsettling argument. According to Smith, capitalism is systematically incapable of solving the most profound problem it creates. That is, ecological crisis. In making his case, Smith argues that many current analyses recognize the problem but do not go far enough in identifying solutions. For example, he provides a constructive critique of Daly’s steady-state approach to capitalism. Smith advocates a form of eco-socialism. In the following dialogue, adapted from a series of blog posts, he introduces some of his key themes in an informal way and responds to interlocutors. Smith’s papers are amongst the most widely read that Real-World Economics Review has ever published. One need only consider the limitations and problems emerging from the recent Paris COP 21 climate change agreement to realise that Smith’s work deserves careful attention.
It looks like this 4-part series offers everything you wanted to know about the neoliberal trade treaties and especially the subversive Investor-State Dispute Settlement (ISDS) mechanism which provides an end-run around national governments who attempt to protect their habitats.
A host of trade treaties are in negotiation around the globe, many of which, say critics, stand to enrich investors at the expense of the environment and ultimately, democracy, threatening the right of individual nations to pass and impose laws meant to protect their citizens and nature. In this four part series, Mongabay dives deep into the history of global trade to explain how we got to where we are today and what may lay ahead.
Part One is an origins story, beginning in a period of economic recovery and great hope after two World Wars and the Great Depression.
To much fanfare, global leaders have agreed to tackle the climate crisis by ratifying the Paris climate agreement, but a group of esteemed scientists is warning that current pledges to reduce emissions are far from sufficient and, in fact, put the world on track to reaching the dangerous 2°C climate threshold by 2050.
Sunday, October 2, 2016
I am posting this article for two reasons: it explains in simple language the reality of some major economic events, and describes the surrealist spectacle of US election campaigns that are presented as a crucial feature of democratic rule. The former needs little elaboration on my part. So I will confine my comments to the latter because unlike Escobar, I don't take this election for president or for most other major candidates seriously.
Since the founding of our nation, election campaigns have mostly transformed from direct capitalist class restrictions on who gets to participate in their elections to an increasing control over the knowledge of important economic and political issues due to the concentration of media in ever smaller capitalist hands. Nowadays these issues are carefully shaped by corporate authorities (probably in collaboration at times with their agents in government secret services) to serve capitalist interests of profit and power to such an extent that such issues have been transformed into something that is indistinguishable from mythology. In his rather simple, vulgar mind Donald Trump has sensed that the elections are rigged, and he is much more right than he knows. Even the perceptive and informed Escobar seems to take the campaigns far more seriously than they deserve.
Because I have devoted my website over the past nearly seven years to unraveling the many mysteries of capitalist rule, I will not offer here a comprehensive presentation of what I have learned--only a summary of what I have learned. And because this article relates mostly to the US and because US capitalists furnish the basis of the US-led Empire, I will concentrate my comments accordingly.
Because capitalist class rule so grossly favors people who "own" major portions of our economy, they must deceive people about what they are doing in order to maintain their extreme wealth and power. This deception first started with the rise of the capitalist class in western Europe mostly in the 18th and 19th centuries during which time they took control of feudal kingdoms and transformed and consolidated them into the states that we see today. To do this they had to get the allegiance of common people in their battles against monarchies and aristocracies by presenting themselves as exponents of "democracy"--the rule of the people as described in such documents as the Declaration of Independence here in the US.
Once this new American class wrested control from Britain, they were saddled with this democratic mythology and somehow had to integrate the appearance of democracy in their new government and Constitution. They designed their new government to protect their rule from people who lived off their labor in order to protect the interests of their class of people--those who owned substantial economic property. Hence only such people could vote. The three components of their government--Congress, the Executive, and the Supreme Court all served to protect their class from workers who at that time were free labor (small farmers and various skilled and semi-skilled workers ("mechanics"), many indentured laborers (temporary semi-slaves), and African slaves who they imported in large numbers to transform the natural wealth in the North American continent into their wealth.
Since then this capitalist class has acquired tremendous wealth and power through their exploitation of both nature and the common people. To appease the ever yearning popular desire for more democracy, they gradually permitted more and more people to vote as they consolidated their ownership of economic property, control of money (Federal Reserve), political parties and the media. This sketch of history brings us up to approximately the 1930s.
The roots of a fascist tendency in this ruling class can be traced to the era of the Gilded Age when the capitalist class consolidated so much wealth and power (think John D. Rockefeller, Andrew Carnegie, JP Morgan, etc) and when this class also went abroad to obtain more wealth in imperial ventures. However in the 1930s this hyper-aggressive fascist faction most aggressively reared their ugly heads. This took various forms--the most dramatic were the funding of the Nazi Party in Germany as a weapon to be used against their nemesis the Soviet Union. Soviet workers were fully employed in the midst of a depression and widespread unemployment in Western capitalist countries. The fact of US workers looking to any kind of ideas relating to public ownership and control of the economy provoked great fear among many capitalists. Thus many were very sympathetic to fascist ideas. Because they didn't like to pay taxes that supported FDR's New Deal policies, they secretly schemed to engineer a coup to replace Franklin Roosevelt with someone to promote their agenda. After that they resisted any efforts by the US government to intervene against the rise of Nazi Germany (they hid under the cover of "isolationism"), and funded many fascist front groups in the US like The American Liberty League, America First Committee, and the American Legion. They also funded many right wing radio broadcasts which spewed anti-New Deal and FDR hate propaganda. I remember hearing such broadcasts by Fulton Lewis Jr.
After WWII when the US reigned nearly supreme with an intact industrial structure, a huge army, and the new atomic bomb, this faction of the capitalist ruling class launched their first war--an invasion of Korea which was threatening to throw out their US occupiers and former Japanese colonial collaborators. (Read The Origins of the Korean War by Bruce Cumings) They had largely infiltrated the US State Department, the Pentagon, and especially the embryonic agency that became the CIA under Allen Dulles. (I strongly advise you to read the recently published book The Devil's Chessboard: Allen Dulles, the CIA, and the Rise of America's Secret Government, by David Talbot.)
The next signature event was the assassination of President John Kennedy. This event served notice to every political person that there was an invisible government that was now in charge of the official government. No such person now dares to cross them. As Obama recently said in a brief moment of candor: "the CIA usually gets what it wants." The CIA is only a part of this secret government apparatus (or deep state) along with all the other secret and unaccountable agencies, the National Security Council, and most especially the major think tanks like the Council on Foreign Relations, Brookings Institution, etc.
So elections don't matter. I think Donald Trump was permitted to run in the election because the deep state wants their carefully groomed candidate Hillary Clinton to be president. By presenting the vulgar, racist, simple-minded Trump as the opposing candidate, they are sure that Americans will have no choice but to elect their candidate. The only real choice we have is to continue to put up with this system of government or to begin to think about organizing a revolution to establish a new kind of society that is free of classes, exploitation, wars, and inequality, and that can live in harmony with the environment.