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

Wednesday, August 23, 2017

Is Capitalism Killing Our Climate? A radio interview with Ian Angus [a best post]

The hosts of Planet Haliburton, a program from the wilds of Haliburton County in Ontario, Canada, interview Ian Angus, the editor of Climate & Capitalism.

This fascinating interview lasts about 46 minutes minus 6 minutes in the middle (which you can skip) to hear a Bob Dylan song.

Trump's Base Turns On Him Over Afghanistan

Click here if you wish to access the 10:43m podcast via YouTube that originated from the Jimmy Dore show.  

I especially liked the exchange between Dore and one of his guests (Ron?) toward the end of the show.
Ron: Let's look at the system that allowed this snake oil salesman [Trump] to happen in the first place.

Jimmy: No wants to do that, Ron. That's a good idea. I know no one wants to change the system. No one wants to get rid of their money. No one wants to get rid of their corporate cash. Nobody wants to change the system, believe me.
Unfortunately, they didn't name the system, but the system has a name--capitalism. 

Capitalist speech versus people speech

by political cartoonist Matt Wuerker.

This cartoon very well illustrates the truth that a tiny class of capitalists, who rule the US, have overwhelmingly more opportunities to influence decisions than the vast majority of Americans. In addition, it shows the hypocrisy of the propaganda that we are all subject to: "the people have spoken". What is missing from the satire is the power of wealth also enables capitalists to hide a very "inconvenient truth": Their wealth enables them to control both political parties and select their candidates. It's not a perfect system as they discovered in the recent election, but it is sufficient to fool most Americans into believing that they live in a "democracy".

Tuesday, August 22, 2017

Fighting Neo-Nazis and the Future of Free Expression

Click here to access article by Jeremy Malcolm, Cindy Cohn, and Danny O'Brien from Electronic Frontier Foundation.  

Although these people don't acknowledge the reality of the current class war that is occurring, they, as experts on all technical matters of internet, recognize that there are attacks happening against the norms of free expression of opinions over the internet. There is much to be learned about the internet in this piece to enable us to better fight against censorship that is currently being waged by agents of the capitalist class.

Permit me to digress because I've just had an epiphany and, before I forget, I want to share it with you! Don't ask me how I arrived at it, because I don't remember. It has something to do with the free expression of ideas.

The thought just occurred to me that education in a capitalist controlled society, such as we are in, has so effectively blocked any class-based analysis of issues in those it educates. (If this is difficult for you to grasp, think of it in terms of inoculation against a disease--the disease in this case is critical thinking.) And the more education one receives, the more this blocking process occurs. These insights have been validated by many experiences in my rather long life of 81 years. 

Capitalists need highly trained people to enable them to exploit workers, to design devices (robots, subsystems, weapons, etc) which eliminates the need for workers, to better exploit workers, have better access to resources and markets, to develop weapons that can threaten other countries to comply with our masters' demands, to staff their many institutions to protect and promote their system of capitalism, etc, etc. The more education one receives in a capitalist controlled society the more potentially dangerous one becomes for our capitalist masters. To offset any threats to their rule and their system, which lays so many golden eggs (among which are wealth and power) for them to enjoy at our expense, they especially load their system of higher education with pro-capitalist ideas about the sanctity of private economic property, the justness of their economic and political system, and the necessity for workers to obey their leaders and work hard for their bosses. 

Of course, such ideas are pure indoctrination and people are discouraged from ever questioning questioning these fundamental beliefs of capitalism. They are like the 10 Commandments of Judaism and Christianity. Capitalism is a faith-based belief system which often resembles a religion.  As mentioned above, my experience has validated a corollary of this indoctrination component of education: the more education one has, the more indoctrinated such a person is likely to be in these fundamental tenets of capitalism. (This holds true even when the factor of rewards/benefits are factored in--although less so.) This explains why I nearly always have found it more difficult to convince educated people of the class nature of our society than I have people who have received much less education.

Monday, August 21, 2017

The truth will not be Googled

Click here to access article by Claire Connelly from Renegade Inc. (Edited for clarity at 5:45 PM Seattle time.)

Even people who I regard as believers in the reform of capitalism (otherwise known as "liberals") are disturbed by the increasing efforts of internet related corporations to censor out material that our masters in the capitalist class find objectionable. 
While web-hosting services have been criticised for cancelling the registration of neo-Nazi website, Daily Stormer, progressive left-leaning sites are losing Google ranking and traffic because of a deliberate move to censor “fake” news by the internet search giant.
I haven't yet seen any significant evidence that my website has been adversely affected by corporate internet censors (other than the usual August slowdown when people go on vacations), but many as reported in this article have been affected. However, I have a rather difficult time sympathizing with people whose websites have been adversely affected. I think it is very naive of them to expect otherwise. They seem to have actually believed in all the propaganda about liberties in a capitalist class ruled society. Actually I am surprised that this has not happened sooner. So, I say, "people, grow up! Get a grip on reality! (This does not mean that we should simply accept their efforts to control the internet--on the contrary, we must throw everything into the battle to preserve it for our use.)

You live in a society that is ruled of, by, and for the interests of a class of owners of the economy, otherwise known as capitalists. The latter see evidence all around them that the internet is used by people to reject their self-serving propaganda, and logically they want to shut it down. Is that so hard to understand?

Yes, I am aware of all the amendments, known as the Bill of Rights, to the Constitution. However our early "founding fathers" were forced to tack on these liberties to their constitution in order for the states to ratify it. They didn't really mean it. So, get over it. Surely you stopped believing in Santa Claus and the tooth fairy. Likewise you should stop believing in all the fairy tale indoctrination about freedom existing in the US. These freedoms largely only exist for this class; and when "push comes to shove" as they are now for the increasingly threatened ruling class, they won't exist at all for ordinary people. 

The implication of all this is clear: we ordinary people must act to secure your own liberties by overthrowing the rule of the capitalist class and insuring that no ruling class ever takes control. But we can't stop there. We will also have to design a new society that insures equality, that the fruits of one's labor is shared by all, and, most importantly, the policies that govern this new society are influenced by all. 

There has never been a more favorable time to do this since the beginning of civilization. Think about it. We have constructed so many labor saving devices that free us from work; and with our control of them, we could all work about a 15 hour week which would free us to educate ourselves, to govern, spend more time with our families, create things, enjoy life, preserve the environment, etc, etc. Unfortunately under the rules of capitalism, these devices are all "owned" by capitalists whose only interest is to accumulate more profit and power at your expense by producing many frivolous and even terribly harmful things (never-ending wars) that we can and must do without if we are to survive as a species.

Saturday, August 19, 2017

They Want You to ‘Punch a Nazi’: Enacting Violence Keeps You Distracted From the Real Issue

Click here to access article by Matt Agorist from The Free Thought Project
There is absolutely no chance of an outspoken, swastika toting white supremacist, hell bent on a 2nd Holocaust, taking over the country and locking you up. This is why battling white supremacists is futile. There is, however, a very real system of oppression on the rise in this country that does oppress minorities, kidnaps them, cages them, and also kills them on a large scale. It was here far before Trump too.
And later he writes:
America’s real white supremacists don’t identify themselves with flags—they use the seals of government agencies and company logos to officialize their corporatism into policy. They hide behind marble walls, built by slaves, and move armies around the planet like chess pieces on a board. America’s real white supremacists want you paying attention to the serfs fighting over statues so they can continue to rape the planet, extract the fruits of your labor, and spread empire all in their hellish mission to maintain their ‘order.’ 
You may also be interested in Jay Syrmopoulos's similar interpretation of the remarks made recently by Noam Chomsky entitled "Noam Chomsky: ‘Antifa is Wrong in Principle — a Major Gift to the Militant Right’".

Friday, August 18, 2017

As Russia-Gate Story Stalls, Cue Trump Neo-Nazi Scandal

Click here to access article by Finian Cunningham from Strategic Culture Foundation. (Minor editing to add greater clarity to my commentary.)
...the concerted, massive media campaign to nail Trump as some kind of new Fuhrer seems way over the top. The media frenzy smacks of Deep State opponents scouring for a handy new pretext for ousting him from office.

The enthusiasm for whipping up the new anti-Trump campaign seems due in large part because the erstwhile Russia-gate story has patently failed to gain any traction. For nearly seven months since Trump’s inauguration, the relentless claims pushed by Democrats, the media and anonymous intelligence sources that his election last November was enabled by Russian interference have shown little impact in terms of discrediting Trump and ultimately forcing him out of the White House. The Russia-gate theme has failed in its soft coup objective.
The Irish journalist argues that Deep State operatives are now exploiting the increasing revelations that Trump has racist inclinations as demonstrated by corporate media coverage given to the recent incident in Charlottesville, Virginia. Having largely failed with the Russia-gate strategy, the racist card looks more promising. Of course, this overlooks the fact that nearly all Americans (I include myself) in the US have harmful racist feelings ranging from people in the White nationalist groups to the Deep State to African-Americans (who are, in many cases, affected psychologically negatively) simply because one cannot avoid the racist indoctrination that is laced throughout US culture. The Deep State exploited the African-American superficial features of Obama to promote him as president in order to camouflage their own racism and to bolster their propaganda that the US was no longer a racist nation.  

Racism is a ubiquitous fact of life in the US because the capitalist ruling class has always seen it as a useful weapon to weaken labor movements by playing off various groups of workers against each other. Other groups affected at various times in our history were the Chinese, Asians as a whole, brown Latin Americans, southern and eastern Europeans, and even the Irish. The Deep State may now be seeing it (stirring up racial conflicts) as a useful strategy to dump Trump. As I argued yesterday, the evidence suggests that the entire Charlottesville incident was carefully planned by not only White nationalists but local police agencies as well.

Thursday, August 17, 2017

“Start Throwing Rocks”: Washington Post Op-Ed Calls For More Violence In The Streets

Click here to access article by Daniel Lang from SHTF Plan. (My thanks goes to Christopher in northwest Oregon who alerted me to this article.)

Although I don't like the wording in the third paragraph, otherwise I totally agree with him. I think the media agents of the ruling class play ordinary Americans like a circus calliope. I have been "entertaining" the idea that this might be the opening salvo of the ruling class's war against dissenters. From what I've learned so far is that the Charlottesville incident looks engineered with the cops' role part of the engineering. The ruling class might have decided to take out their frustrations over Syria on what constitutes the left domestically, especially with a right-wing racist in office who is not of their choosing. Time will tell. Keep in mind that ruling class agents have developed an expertise and a lot of experience with regard to creating social chaos.

It's articles like the one entitled "Chaos in Charlottesville: No One Gave Peace a Chance, Including the Police" that reinforces my theory.

Wednesday, August 16, 2017

Life under capitalism: Early deaths a ‘silver lining’ for corporations

Click here to access article by Pete Dolack from Systemic Disorder

Dolack illustrates how the "disorder" of the inevitable development of the system of capitalism, which results in ever greater concentration of wealth in the hand of a diminishing number of rich, can actually be measured by using certain statistics like longevity. However what is very bad news to us is good news to the tiny ruling class of capitalists as reported to them in an article in one of their news publications (Bloomberg) entitled "Americans Are Dying Younger, Saving Corporations Billions". This is another example of the contradictions of capitalism that our masters like to hide from us, but are completely candid about in their news sources.
So what does this have to do with an article published by Bloomberg? The headline on this particular article says it all: “Americans Are Dying Younger, Saving Corporations Billions,” complete with a subhead declaring “lower pension costs” a “silver lining.” As not only a proud member of the corporate media, but one specializing in delivering news to financiers and industrialists, extolling a benefit to corporate bottom lines and ignoring the, ahem, human cost of said benefit is only to be expected. The article is not at all atypical of the business press, even if this one is a little more obvious than usual.
Thus, you can be dead certain (pun intended) that such news shapes their policy decisions to diminish resources for health care for ordinary people as very well illustrated in their attempts to weaken the already inadequate (for us), pro-insurance company Affordable Care Act that the last Congress passed with Obama's support.

Tuesday, August 15, 2017

Cornel West & Rev. Traci Blackmon: Clergy in Charlottesville Were Trapped by Torch-Wielding Nazis [Parts 1 and 2]

Click here to access 44:26m video and transcript of the interviews posted on Democracy Now!. (Note: The interviews and Goodman's report (in Part 1) of the Charlottesville incident is interrupted from 9:09m to 15:46m when Amy Goodman reported the regular news.) (Updated at 5:42 PM Seattle time with links to documentation added.)
...violence that erupted in Charlottesville, Virginia, over the weekend as thousands of neo-Nazis, KKK members and other white nationalists began descending on the city to participate in the "Unite the Right" rally. Thousands of counterprotesters met in Charlottesville, including clergy, students, Black Lives Matter activists, and protesters with the antifascist movement known as "antifa." We are joined by two clergy members and a local Black Lives Matter activist who helped organize the demonstration. Rev. Traci Blackmon is executive minister of Justice and Witness Ministries of the United Church of Christ. During a live interview with MSNBC at the march on Saturday, she was forced to flee as counterprotesters were attacked around her. Cornel West was also on site and describes the scene. We also speak with Jalane Schmidt, an associate professor of religious studies at the University of Virginia.
Then this coverage continues in Part 2:

Cornel West:
...our concern has to be...to empower those of us who are willing to fight. We need prophetic fightback, progressive fightback. It’s got to be multiracial, but it’s also got to be critical to capitalism and the empire, along with patriarchy and white supremacy. White supremacy certainly is at the center, but it can’t just be a matter of talking about race isolated from these other very ugly realities.
Of course, as usual (see this, this, and this), because this dramatic comment made Amy Goodwin uncomfortable because she knew that such remarks would make her rich funders (for example, this) unhappy which might threaten her several hundred thousand dollar salary she enjoys (see this, this, and this), she did not pick up on it by having West expand on it. She simply ignored it by quickly asking another question of Traci Blackmon.

(Democracy Now! is providing other followup coverage of the incident that you may want to follow.)

Monday, August 14, 2017

Oakland's NFL Star Marshawn Lynch Sits During US Anthem

Click here to access article from TeleSur

A former star running back for the Seattle Seahawks joins quarterback Kaepernick in refusing to stand for the national anthem. Last night his friend and former teammate Michael Bennett also refused to stand as a protest against racist injustice in the exhibition game against the San Diego Chargers. In contrast to Lynch he explained his reasons in an interview after the game.
Seahawk defensive lineman Michael Bennett sat during the national anthem prior to the team’s preseason opener against the Chargers in Carson, Calif., Sunday night, a stance he said he will continue throughout the 2017 season in an effort to “continuously push” a message against injustice in society.

Delcy Rodriguez to Lead Constituent Assembly in Venezuela

from TeleSur

The rise of such people to leadership as Delcy Rodriguez in the Constituent Assembly, whose task is to propose a new constitution for ratification by the Venezuelan people, holds much promise for the salvation of the Venezuelan people. At 1:50m she confronts President Macri of Argentina at a Mercosur meeting for supporting a known opposition terrorist in Venezuela.

Sunday, August 13, 2017

Sloppy reporting "to scare people to death"

by Ron Horn for this website.

This morning while perusing articles, I came across the article posted in Defend Democracy Press entitled "Is America Trying to Start a World War? This Is How It Would Happen" in which I became alarmed at this statement:
North Korea has been on the receiving end of a U.S.-led sanctions regime for years, as well, and the American military is now flying bombers over its airspace, provoking the country to respond in kind.
Immediately I checked the link the author provided. It took me to a report from Reuters in which I found the following statement in the first paragraph: 
The United States flew two supersonic B-1B bombers over the Korean peninsula in a show of force on Sunday and the U.S. ambassador to the United Nations said China, Japan and South Korea needed to do more after Pyongyang's latest missile tests. 
This was repeated further down under a picture of a B-1 bomber. The ambiguous reference to the "Korean peninsula" is what really really disturbed me. Eventually I found a more precise location where the two bombers flew in the Independent:
A pair of US supersonic bombers have flown over the Korean Peninsula, less than 48-hours after North Korea’s successfully tested an intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM).

Flanked by South Korean fighter jets The B-1 bombers carried out a low-pass over the Osan Air Base, near South Korea's capital Seoul.
[my link]
However the author did not furnish any link to a source of this information. 

Unfortunately this Anti-Media report was also posted in Global Research as well as the Defend Democracy Press, and I don't know how many others. I wondered why Reuters was so vague about their path over the "Korean peninsula". Then I recalled a statement made by Brian Williams on MSNBC who said that "our job tonight actually is to scare people to death on this subject". Well, it looks like Reuters is also doing their job. It makes me wonder if all the corporate media executives were given this instruction and by whom.

But I also am critical of the reporting by Darius Shahtahmasebi on the staff of Anti-Media. This website is already suffering from being blacklisted by Media Bias/Fact Check, so I would think that they would be especially careful about their reporting.

Saturday, August 12, 2017

It's later than you think

by cartoonist Niels Bo Bojesen.
The planet has just a 5% chance of reaching Paris climate goal.

Friday, August 11, 2017

Why Siding with Washington on Korea May Be Dangerous

Click here to access article by Finian Cunningham from Strategic Culture Foundation

Cunningham recognizes that China and Russia in going along with UN sanctions likely seek to start negotiations that can produce a peaceful settlement to this long developing crisis. 
What appears to be in the calculus by China and Russia is that by giving a sop to the American desire to get tough on North Korea, they are anticipating that the US will agree to calls for multi-party talks and a freeze on military activities on the Korean Peninsula.

Both the Chinese and Russian ambassadors to the UN coupled the latest resolution for sanctions against North Korea with the reboot of the six-party negotiations involving the two Koreas, China, Russia, Japan and the US. Those talks were abandoned in 2009 when the US and North Korea broke off in recriminations.
His main objection about the agreement of China and Russia to go along with the Empire's demand for UN sanctions against the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (North Korea) can be summed up with this paragraph:
It is misplaced for China and Russia to pander to the US over sanctions and to expect something by way of concessions in return. The arrogant Americans don’t know the meaning of concessions, they only perceive weakness and will move to capitalize on weakness.

Google is the Engine of Censorship

Click here to access article from 21st Century Wire
Late last year, search engine giant Google announced its plans to protect users from the horrors of ‘fake news’ by changing the way it presents search results. According to corporate officials, they hope to shelter  readers by limiting access to what the company deems as “low-quality” information – while promoting what it calls ‘established’ mainstream sources. Critics believe that the company, which now has a virtual monopoly on internet traffic, is now playing god over the info-sphere. 
Actually, from my experience Google is the best of a very bad selection of data search engines. If you know of a better one, please let me know. Someone needs to design a search engine that only includes reliable sources of information. But that takes funding and the rich of the Empire have nearly all of the funds.

Facing Defeat in Syria, ISIS Inexplicably Expands Globally

Click here to access article by Tony Cartalucci from New Eastern Outlook.
For ISIS – fueled by resources found only within the boundaries of its meager and shrinking territorial holdings in Syria and Iraq – to be simultaneously fighting the national armies of Syria and Iraq, backed by Iran, Russia, Lebanon’s Hezbollah, and allegedly a US-led coalition including dozens of countries, all while expanding its reach worldwide, including full-scale military operations in Southeast Asia, begs belief.
Having long followed news reports in independent media and from reliable journalists regarding the sudden appearance of the well-equipped and technologically advanced ISIS army in Syria, I immediately drew some inferences about their sudden dramatic appear in the Philippines. Cartalucci provides in summary form the evidence and logic which supports the reality that ISIS is the US-led Empire's and allies' well-funded project to spread its brand of terrorism all over the world in order to justify the Empire's global military operations. 

If you are like me, you don't need to read the article. However, most Americans timidly never venture outside of corporate media, and thus they accept the ruling class's constructed "reality" as truth. Remember what that right-wing advisor Karl Rove said in a brief moment of candor?
“We’re an empire now, and when we act, we create our own reality. And while you’re studying that reality — judiciously, as you will — we’ll act again, creating other new realities, which you can study too, and that’s how things will sort out. We’re history’s actors . . . and you, all of you, will be left to just study what we do.”
He wasn't only referring to their actions as reported by independent media, but to their construction via media corporations of the "reality" of their actions.

Thursday, August 10, 2017

Eve of Destruction…Or Revolution?

Click here to access a commentary of a book by Ron Jacobs from CounterPunch
“In order to replace capitalism with an ecological society we need a revolution.” That modest sentence is how Fred Magdoff and Chris Williams, the authors of Creating an Ecological Society: Toward a Revolutionary Transformation, begin the last chapter of their new book. Although the chapter is the end of the book, it is also an opening to a new direction, a new movement. It is also the essence of the entire text. Capitalism is the reason our biosphere is collapsing and the only way humanity and the rest of earth’s species can survive is by ending capitalism.
Magdoff and Williams make some very good arguments, which Jacobs summarizes, that capitalism is ultimately going to destroy the habitat that supports human life. I particularly like their material about human nature and its gross distortion under capitalist culture. 

However, saving the biosphere to protect human habitation is only one of the reasons why we should should put an end to capitalism. Capitalism is also the root cause of widespread poverty and wars. Wars nowadays between major powers that are equipped with nuclear weapons are likely to extinguish humans much earlier than the destabilization of the biosphere. I have striven for the past nearly eight years to argue and document all three reasons with this website. (I have also written a proposal on the best way to end capitalism: A Revolutionary Model.)

I notice that more and more people are beginning to realize that revolution to end capitalist rule must be considered. (See here, and here.) I googled "revolution" on Google (selected "past week" under "tools") and found many recent entries referring to Bernie Sanders (see this). This suggests to me that ruling class agents are once again attempting to herd confused young Americans back into the fold of the Democratic Party or at least into a political dead-end.

Yesterday I noticed numerous articles (for example, see this) in liberal media about the recent convention held in Chicago by the Democratic Socialists of America who seem to be enjoying a revival with the injection of many former Bernie Sanders followers. Although occasionally they play lip service to the abolition of capitalism, their past actions indicate that they are far more interested in working politically within the capitalist system to promote social democracy or a generous state welfare system.

What few people who want to substantially change conditions today fail to realize is that 1) the capitalist ruling class will never allow substantial change to be voted on and selected; and 2) that the descendance into fascism that today's capitalist rule exhibits is not the fascism of the past, but a new form using corporate media to thoroughly confuse and distract people in order to promote their policies and preserve their rule. 

Thus any effective revolutionary movement must counter the fake news and analysis with authentic news and analysis that enables ordinary people to understand what is going on in the world and awaken an awareness of how they can bring about real changes. This, too, I have firmly embedded in my revolutionary proposal. In addition the proposal uses prefigurative political elements to empower ordinary people and prevent any kind of ruling classes in the future.

Wednesday, August 9, 2017

Latin American School of Medicine: A beacon of fraternity, solidarity and collectivity

Click here to access article by Nuria Barbosa León from Granma (Cuba). (Note: I'd like to thank Caren from northwestern Oregon for alerting me to this article.)

Cuban medicine is famous all over the world except here in the US where media corporations don't want you to know about it. Their research has led to new medicines, their Latin America School of Medicine has trained more than 28,500 doctors from 103 countries, and Cuban doctors have served in numerous countries which are lacking in health facilities. I know from my trip to Venezuela in December 2005 that the Venezuelan people very much appreciate the work they have done in their country.

The article mostly reports on the author's interviews with recent graduates of the school to hear from them about their experience at the school.

"It's Barack Obama Marries Dick Cheney" All In One Think Tank

Click here to access article by Tyler Durden from Zero Hedge

Durden covers several new events that suggest a movement is on (no doubt by agents of the Deep State) to curtail reports you are getting from various alternative websites. This includes a new "think tank" that's been organized to do just that--it's called the "Alliance for Securing Democracy". (Don't you just love the way they in their unique Orwellian style so frequently dress up their nefarious projects with the warm-fuzzy word "democracy"?)
...who specifically is behind the Alliance for Securing Democracy? For that we should turn to Col. Pat Lang's blog, Sic Semper Tyrannis, which artfully summarizes its origins. Pat Lang is a retired former high ranking Pentagon intelligence officer who oversaw all military intelligence for the Middle East, and was a presidential intelligence briefer under past presidents. ....

Tuesday, August 8, 2017

Who Has Your Back?

Click here to access report issued by Rainey Reitman of the Electronic Frontier Foundation
While many technology companies continue to step up their privacy game by adopting best practices to protect sensitive customer information when the government demands user data, telecommunications companies are failing to prioritize user privacy when the government comes knocking. Even tech giants such as Apple, Facebook, and Google can do more to fully stand behind their users.

EFF's seventh annual “Who Has Your Back” report digs into the ways many technology companies are getting the message about user privacy in this era of unprecedented digital surveillance.

We evaluated the public policies at 26 companies and awarded stars in five categories, with nine companies earning a perfect five-star score this year: Adobe, Credo, Dropbox, Lyft, Pinterest, Sonic, Uber, Wickr, and Wordpress. Each has a track record of defending user privacy against government overreach and improved on their practices to meet the more stringent standards in this year's Who Has Your Back.

AT&T, Comcast, T-Mobile, and Verizon scored the lowest, each earning just one star. While they have adopted a number of industry best practices, like publishing transparency reports and requiring a warrant for content, they still need to commit to informing users before disclosing their data to the government and creating a public policy of requesting judicial review of all National Security Letters.
You can check details on each company and other information below the chart provided by the report.

Nuclear War: An Unrecognized Mass Extinction Event Waiting To Happen

Click here to access a speech given by Kenneth Starr to a Symposium: The Dynamics of Possible Nuclear Extinction held at The New York Academy of Medicine, 28 February - 1 March 2015.   

Yesterday I receive this link to Kenneth Starr's speech in an email from Dave Ratcliffe of ratical.org regarding the current dangers of a nuclear war which our masters seem to be preparing for. Although it violates my rule to post only current material (less than one month), I share Ratcliffe's and many others concerns about the lack of information in today's several generations regarding the devastating effects of a nuclear war. Starr reports that earlier generations knew full well about the effects of a nuclear, but according him this seems to have changed around 1980. 

I myself was not really aware of this change, but I think that this explains why so many people today are quite unconcerned about the bellicose anti-Russian statements and actions as well as NATO's military preparations for a war with Russia. I lived through the terrifying days around the Cuban Missile Crisis, and I am beginning to experience similar feelings today. I have been confounded by the apparent lack of concern today about a nuclear war and the absence of any significant anti-war movement. Hence I am posting this. 

(I have been seeing frequent references by today's pundits and commentators to the old TV program Star Wars which began after the film Star Wars was released in 1977. I keep wondering if this space opera about intergalactic wars as entertainment did not create this lack of concern.) 

In this post you can listen to Starr's address via YouTube (the first 19:36m) or read the script. (I found the audio rather deficient for my old ears.)

Colin Kaepernick dilemma: The NFL really is a plantation

Click here to access article by Mel Reeves from Rhymes Media Group.

Reeves explains the similarities of NFL's actions of today with the slave-plantation system of our history, and he also castigates today's racists and "Uncle Toms". The Civil War may have freed African-Americans from classic slavery, but otherwise for most of them conditions don't seem to have changed substantially. Now it seems the ruling capitalist class finds African-Americans not only as a source of cheap labor, but as a useful group to divide, control, and fool white workers.
The Colin Kaepernick situation reveals all you need to know about the US Big Business and its most popular non profit the National Football League. Kaepernick remains unsigned because he stood up against racism and police violence, both of which are important to the rich powerful in maintaining their hold on US society.

The NFL owners are hypocrites.

Western Think Tanks as an Actual Weapon of Mass Destruction

Click here to access article by Ollie Richardson from Oriental Review

The author explains how many US-led Empire "think tanks" (in contrast to primary "deep state" think tanks that decide major policies), in reality serve as propaganda organizations, and use well-funded lobbyists to spread propaganda (to upper middle class professionals and mid-level businessmen) to support ruling capitalist class interests. In Syria and other places this means spreading disinformation about the Empire's support for various terrorist groups with weapons and training. He particularly "outs" (def. #2) Charles Lister as one such lobbyist. 
...the only thing that has changed [since the Iraq war in 2003] is the signature under the calls for war. There are some recurring figures, of course, but in general a whole new pool was formed from the latest available “talent” concerning serving liberalism. One such “genius” is a Mr Charles Lister. He can be described as today’s equivalent of Judith Miller. They both first and foremost are lobbyists – the former for Israel, the latter for Qatar, they both were/are paid for their work (selling war), and they both have been exposed on more than one occasion for severely alarming incompetence.

Monday, August 7, 2017

Being Honest About Venezuela

Click here to access article by Mike Gonzalez from Defend Democracy Press

This piece represents the best assessment of the current political conditions in Venezuela that I have seen. Today we see numerous articles in corporate media which go to great lengths to smear the Bolivarian government of Venezuela with distorted information, but on the other side in small blogs we frequently find ideologically obsessed purists who gloss over the sins of the Venezuelan government and characterize any criticisms as simply capitalist propaganda. As political activists and revolutionaries we simply must give up the juvenile habit of seeing various groups as either "good guys" or "bad guys" that our ruling class likes to do.

Based on my trip to Venezuela in December of 2005 when I witnessed the beginning indications of a self-serving bureaucracy, this view by Gonzalez has the pure ring of authenticity. I posted many articles back in 2010 reflecting this concern: for some examples, see this, this, and especially this.

Because "Mike Gonzalez" is a very common name, the following is an accurate description of the author that I borrowed from The London School of Economics and Political Science:
Gonzalez is one of Britain’s leading scholars in Latin American studies. He has written extensively on Latin American politics and culture, social movements, and revolutionary figures. He is author of volumes on Che Guevara and the Cuban Revolution, the Nicaraguan revolution, on the situation in Chile in the 1970s, and has recently written articles for the magazine Jacobin in which he analyses the current political turmoil in Venezuela.
Also, if you still have doubts about the author, listen to the following 12:10m talk that Gonzalez gave in 2014 (before the collapse in oil prices) regarding Chavez and the Bolivarian Revolution since he took control at the end of 1998.

The Bolivarian Revolution is not over yet, but Gonzalez accurately reports most of what has gone wrong up till now. Hugo Chavez did create many coops and popular councils and educated many ordinary Venezuelans that radicalized many people, and these people may yet save and advance the revolution before it is taken back by the old oligarchy in collusion with the US.   

You might also be interested in an article by Peter Koenig entitled "Venezuela – The National Constituent Assembly is in Place – But the fight for Sovereignty isn’t Over" in which he describes the current situation in the country.

Sunday, August 6, 2017

Fake News A US Media Speciality

Click here to access article by Paul Craig Roberts from his website.
The American media specializes in fake news. Indeed, since the Clinton regime the American media has produced nothing but fake news.
Roberts provides a survey of reports on corporate media and finds them riddled with lies to the extent that one could easily conclude that their media only serves a propaganda function to support the profit and power interests of the capitalist ruling class. Still, that makes no difference to many Americans who daily follow news reports in corporate media like they were a drug--actually they do act as a kind of hallucinogenic drug. "Just say no" to drugs by cutting the cord"! After that, do what you can to support reliable news on independent websites.

Saturday, August 5, 2017

Has Seymour Hersh Debunked ‘Russia-gate’?

Click here to access article by Justin Raimondo from AntiWar.com. (Amended several times up to 5:33 PM Seattle time.)

For those of you who may still have doubts about the Deep State's war against Trump, this adds more fuel to the evidence-fire. The ruling class through their media have brainwashed many unsuspecting Americans into believing a classic "conspiracy theory" which they repeated over and over until it has lodged in their minds as a "fact":
The Democrats, the media, and the War Party contend that the Russians hacked into the DNC, and fooled John Podesta into handing the keys to his emails over to them: a full-fledged federal investigation, complete with a special counsel, is now busy trying to find evidence of the Trump campaign’s collusion with this nefarious plot.
Yes, Trump must have had Rich murdered because he knew too much, and "Putin's Russia" interfered with the election causing Hillary to lose! (sarcasm) This type of shit (excuse my language) fills corporate media reports instead of real news!

Trump approves new sanctions against Russia

Click here to access article by Bill Van Auken from World Socialist Web Site
While Trump indicated that he agreed with the imposition of sanctions against what he described in his signing statements as the “rogue regimes” in both North Korea and Iran—both of which Washington has openly targeted for regime change—his opposition was based largely on the legislation’s limiting of his power to waive existing sanctions imposed by the Obama administration against Russia.

The inclusion of this restraint was bound up with the unrelenting campaign waged by the Democratic Party and the corporate media, backed by powerful layers within the US military-intelligence apparatus, attacking Trump as the beneficiary of alleged Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election. Underlying this campaign is opposition within the American ruling establishment to any letup in aggression against Russia, which is viewed as a principal obstacle to the US drive to defend its global dominance by militarily asserting its control over the Middle East, Eastern Europe and the entire Eurasian landmass.
Also see the implications of this bill on Europe in an article by Eric Zuesse entitled "America Declares Economic War Against Europe".

On the Beach 2017. “The War was Over… Was it Started by an Accident or Mistake. There was no Victor… “

Click here to access article by John Pilger from Global Research (based in Canada).

This noted anti-war Australian journalist uses two pieces of fiction to illustrate the terrible likely reality of a nuclear war with Russia and China. 

Referring to the brainwashing of the American public for the coming war with Russia and China, he writes:
Those who call themselves liberals or tendentiously “the left” are eager participants in this manipulation, and its brainwashing, which today revert to one name: Trump.

Trump is mad, a fascist, a dupe of Russia. He is also a gift for “liberal brains pickled in the formaldehyde of identity politics”, wrote Luciana Bohne memorably. The obsession with Trump the man — not Trump as a symptom and caricature of an enduring system – beckons great danger for all of us.

While they pursue their fossilised anti-Russia agendas, narcissistic media such as the Washington Post, the BBC and the Guardian suppress the essence of the most important political story of our time as they warmonger on a scale I cannot remember in my lifetime.

Neocons Leverage Trump-Hate for More Wars

Click here to access article by Robert Parry from ConsortiumNews

Although Parry accepts the official version of who was behind the 9/11 project, he does offer a substantial argument that the Neocons (a euphemism for "Ziocons") are a powerful force that is controlling coverage by corporate media which, in turn, is managing the minds and actions of what appears to be a majority of the American public using "Trump-hate" in order to pursue more wars on behalf of US's imperial and Zionist agendas.
A savvy Washington observer once told me that the political reality about the neoconservatives is that they alone couldn’t win you a single precinct in the United States. But both Republicans and Democrats still line up to gain neocon support or at least neocon acceptance.

Part of the reason for this paradox is the degree of dominance that the neoconservatives have established in the national news media – as op-ed writers and TV commentators – and the neocon ties to the Israel Lobby that is famous for showering contributions on favored politicians and on the opponents of those not favored.

Friday, August 4, 2017

The End of the "Wars on the Cheap" for the United States

Click here to access article by "The Saker" from The Unz Review.  (Edited for correction on 8/5/2017 at 3:40 PM)

I think he makes a good point that "wars on the cheap" are no longer available to the Empire's ruling capitalist class. He provides a very good description of "wars on the cheap" strategy, and develops a good argument that this strategy, which the Empire's directors have been using so successfully since Nicaragua and the Contras, is over. [Actually CIA support for the rebel Mujaheddin in Afghanistan (later to become Al Qaeda in Iraq) began a little over two years earlier under the Carter administration) He argues that people have learned how to combat the highly sophisticated weapons supplied by the Empire and its allies so that the economic and political costs of the Empire's use of this strategy is becoming prohibitive. And when other powerful nations assist targeted governments such as Russia is doing in Syria, this strategy is completely ineffective. 

What I believe the author doesn't emphasize enough is that the strategy is fundamentally ineffective because highly motivated "boots on the ground" are missing for nearly all of the foreign adventures contemplated by the Empire's directorate. To be sure, people are learning how to fight back against superior equipped forces. However, to me, this suggests that the 9/11 effect of motivating Americans and others to go on the offensive in foreign countries in expensive prolonged wars is coming to an end. Might this reality spur the ruling class directors to create another incident such as 9/11? Stay tuned (def. #2), or better yet, stay politically active and informed.

Internet Censorship Bill Would Spell Disaster for Speech and Innovation

Click here to access article, "a call to action" by Elliot Harmon posted on Electronic Frontier Foundation.
There’s a new bill in Congress that would threaten your right to free expression online. If that weren’t enough, it could also put small Internet businesses in danger of catastrophic litigation.

Don’t let its name fool you: the Stop Enabling Sex Traffickers Act (SESTA, S. 1693) wouldn’t help punish sex traffickers. ....

Make no mistake: sex trafficking is a real, horrible problem. This bill is not the way to address it. Lawmakers should think twice before passing a disastrous law and endangering free expression and innovation.
Our masters in the ruling capitalist class know the dangers that the internet provides to their their rule and their global imperial agendas. Thus they are using every device to deceive Americans into supporting legislation that can weaken mostly small alternative websites who expose their self-serving agendas of profit and power. It appears that this legislation is such a Trojan Horse. If we can't defend the internet, then all is lost.

How Mainstream US ‘News’ Media Pump Their Government’s Lies to Deceive the Public

Click here to access article by Eric Zuesse from Strategic Culture Foundation.

Zuesse like many astute observers of reports from media corporations declares that their media "pump their government lies to deceive the public" which he backs up with substantial evidence. Media corporations has been doing this forever simply because their owners are of the same class that controls every institution of our nation--especially the government--since there were large corporations. What is striking about their reports in our current era is the brazenly obvious nature of these lies as exposed over the internet by independent journalists and analysts such as Zuesse. 

What I think Zuesse and others should be advocating is a well-funded independent media organization within the Empire. Of course, such an organization would be attacked by every weapon available to the ruling capitalist class, but this situation would furnish an excellent catalyst to start the process of exposing them, as the liars they are, to the American and Canadian public who, out of mostly habit, only read, listen, and view mainstream sources for their understanding of events in the world. 

As it is now, Zuesse and other independent journalists and analysts must frequently post their views in foreign owned media websites like Strategic Culture, New Eastern Outlook, and TeleSur because they can't get published in domestically owned websites of any size and resources simply because they don't exist. As the news media now exists, the vast majority of Americans are totally confused and distracted by media corporations; meanwhile the left talk to each other in their mostly isolated enclaves of alternative websites. This simply must change if humans are to have any chance of survival!

Thursday, August 3, 2017

Pulitzer-Prize Winning Reporter: FBI Report Shows It Was Seth Rich – Not Russians – Who Gave DNC Emails to Wikileaks

Click here to access article by Eric Zuesse from Washington's Blog

I am only posting this article because it seems to be raging across the blogosphere, and then this morning I received an email from the Democratic National Committee (DNC) promising to push for what appears to be a left-liberal's wish list: 
...after passing a resolution first proposed by Christine Pelosi in February to prevent corporate donations to the DNC, we adopted a series of similar measures that freed us to champion the most popular, people-friendly, election-winning policies:
    *medicare for all;
   * strong unions;
   * tuition-free college;
   * non-interventionism;
    *reducing corporate influence;
    *the abolition of private prisons - another issue popular across the political    spectrum;
    *and also getting even more firmly behind renewable energy - which three quarters of Trump voters support, perhaps in part because of the huge number of jobs it creates.
I couldn't help but associate the controversy over the murder of Seth Rich, who was a DNC staffer, and this email which in my cynical mind seemed to provide an inspiring distraction for the brewing scandal in the online media. This controversy combined with the shoddy treatment that the Bernie Sanders delegates were given at the 2016 Democratic convention seems to account for this strange email. It's all a hoax to shepherd disillusioned working class Americans back into the fold of the Democratic Party.  

It's obvious that such measures could never be passed with the existing majority Republican Congress. During the Obama administrations, when they sometimes had majority Democratic representation in both houses of Congress, they could have passed such measures, but obviously didn't, and won't in the future. It never ceases to amaze me about the extent to which the ruling capitalist class will seek to manipulate ordinary Americans to support their nefarious agendas with fake news, false-flag operations, and campaign promises such as this.

Neocons Have Been Destroying Sovereign Nations for 20 Years

Click here to access article by Neil Clark from Defend Democracy Press

Clark notices a pattern to all the regime change projects that have been spearheaded by the US ruling class in Yugoslavia, Libya and the Syrian Arab Republic. But the model began with Nicaragua which I witnessed first hand. They used the proxy army called Contras who were based in neighboring Honduras to attack and destroy the clinics and schools set up by the Sandinista government in Nicaragua after they overthrew the Somoza dictatorship and favorite puppet of the US ruling class. 

When activists managed to get Congress to pass a law, called the Boland Amendment, forbidding the government from funding such activities, our imperialist ruling class went around the legislation to finance this project by selling arms to Iran and CIA assisted drug running. The drugs ended up in the African-American ghettos of the US. In the case of Nicaragua our masters were more worried about a good example of the Sandinista government that might inspire other Latin American countries to do likewise. Since then they have perfected this model in the countries that Clark identified.

Wednesday, August 2, 2017

America, the Pathological-Lying, Pyromaniac, Faux-Firefighter

Click here to access article by Edward Rhymes from Rhymes Media Group.

I want to introduce to you another online alternative website where you can find real news, information, and analysis that you will not find on corporate media outlets. If you are getting fed up with all the disinformation from the latter that is only designed to fool you and distract you, then you must find other sources of information that attempt to provide you with the real stories behind the issues. I recommend, as I did, to cut the cord to corporate media by cancelling your cable subscription and keeping internet service--preferably high speed. This will not only save you money, but it will help restore your sanity. 

However you must go a step further to find alternative, genuine sources of news, information, and analysis. I have not found them all and new ones are appearing everyday on the internet. Unfortunately most of the sources are operating on a shoe-string budget and begging for money from their followers, and I fervently hope that they will start co-operating and merging to create a more solid financial base so that they can hire excellent journalists and media technicians. 

What struck me this evening as I was surfing the many links related to Rhymes Media Group is their widespread connections to other media outlets such as TeleSur, PressTV, Blog Talk Radio, and others. They are demonstrating that they know how to cooperate and collaborate--a lost skill in the USA, a skill that I observed in my youth when visiting my uncle's farm in North Dakota. 

The farmers in the area especially at harvest time would bring their harvesting equipment together, mostly tractors, combines, and trucks, in order to harvest all their crops before bad weather set in. The summers in this area were short and the harvest period was short, and they needed to harvest when weather permitted. They solved this dilemma by combining resources. Dr. Edward Rhymes, a retired sociology professor, is doing precisely that using several forms of alternative media.

This piece is mostly a rant, but who doesn't need to rant and rave occasionally in the face of such insane actions that our ruling class directorate are imposing on the rest of world while lying to us about what they are doing. So, when he says "America" is doing this or that, which are likely war crimes, you must realize that he is referring to the directorate of the ruling capitalist class, also known as the "Deep State". They are the real government, and are located in "think tanks" such as the Council on Foreign Relations and their action-executors in the many secret (secret to us) agencies like the CIA, NSA, and 15 other such agencies; top Pentagon officials; and where they all meet, the National Security Council. The democratic facades in the forms of Congress, the judicial system, and even the presidency are mere puppets of this Deep State. Corporate-owned media likewise. 

In the last election the Deep State's choice for president, Hillary Clinton, was not elected; and they are furious with the maverick Donald Trump who is by nature a boss--not anyone's puppet. Hence the ongoing fictitious attacks on Trump. There is much to be critical of Trump, but the Deep State through their media corporations are trying to get rid of him on more substantial grounds by concocting fake stories that he is serving Putin and Russia.

Venezuela – The National Constituent Assembly is in Place – But the fight for Sovereignty isn’t Over

Click here to access article by Peter Koenig from The Saker

This article offers the best factual summary of events related to Sunday's (July 30) election of a Constituent Assembly in Venezuela that I have seen. The middle section of the article contains a lot of his views related to foreign governments and media and their positions on the process that is going on in Venezuela. 

I say process because it is only the first stage of a process (as I understand it) that will include two other stages: a drawing up of a new proposed constitution by the Constituent Assembly, and a referendum put to the citizens of Venezuela to approve or reject the proposed new constitution.

If you are one of the unfortunate ones who follow corporate news media, you will largely receive grossly distorted information. In addition to scenes of rioting and attacking the police, I've noticed so far that much of the coverage has recently been about the results of the illegal plebiscite held two weeks earlier on July 16th (Koenig indicates it was held on the 23rd) by the US backed opposition who are based mostly in the neighborhoods of the white, upper classes in Caracas (which I visited on a trip to Venezuela in December of 2005).

In an era characterized by fake news issued by Empire affiliated media corporations, authentic news and information has become a challenge. I can only recommend that you stop following such sources, and instead focus much more of your attention on reliable news sources. Of course I recommend the sources of the articles that I've posted and those which I have recommended on my website. One of the best ones would be an independent American media organization as I proposed in a series of articles entitled "A Revolutionary Model" (Part 1, Part 2a, Part 2b, and Part 3) that could very well ultimately lead to a revolution in the US and the establishment of a genuine democracy.

Monday, July 31, 2017

North Field gas keeps Qatar crisis stalemated: Fuel for Thought

Click here to access article by Tamsin Carlisle, Senior Editor of The Barrel website, a major petroleum industry source of online information. (Updated as of 8:25 PM Seattle time, also several minor clarifications up until 3 PM Seattle time on 8/1/2017.)

The article likely explains by implication why the news has dropped out of corporate media about the major conflict that has recently developed between the ruling classes (more like extended monarchical families in this area) in Saudi Arabia, United Arab Emirates, and Egypt on one side with Qatar and Turkey on the other side. It's obvious with major Western petroleum corporations so involved in highly profitable operations on both sides of this quarrel that Empire media corporations don't know how to integrate this development so that it corresponds well with all their other Empire interests and simplistic propaganda, that is, the "good guys" of the US Empire versus the "bad guys" of Russia and Putin.

However when I searched for articles specifically in major capitalist online publications like the Wall Street Journal and Bloomberg News, I did find recent extensive coverage of this conflict. The moral of this story is that the purpose of major media corporations is to target the general population and guide ordinary people to support the interests of the Empire's ruling capitalist classes--not to create an understanding of other major issues such as this which deals with inter-capitalist Western interests.

(Writers often use the names of capital cities to represent countries and ruling classes. If you don't know the region very well, here are maps (with pipelines) to guide you as to what the author refers to in the article.)

Your Money or Your Life: Capitalist Health Care

Click here to access article from The Spark.

The happenings in Congress regarding the new Republican plan to replace the Affordable Care Act (ACA) associated with the Obama administration has dominated so much coverage by media corporations at the expense of every other subject. It was as if the ACA was so wonderful and was threatened by the Republican plan. This article puts the lie to this type of news coverage: both plans are all about profits to insurance companies, and neither plan serves the people.

America's Big Lie about Bioweapon Crimes in Korea--[interview with] Tom Powell

Click here to access the approximately one hour interview with Tom Powell by Jeff Brown. 

Tom Powell is the son of parents who lived in China during the Korean War and knows a lot about the controversies surrounding the subject. During the interview a lot of material was referenced to, and which I was familiar with from my readings. Much of this material was covered in a recent book by Dave Chaddock (2013) entitled This Must Be the Place in which he extensively covers the subject from both sides of the controversy and comes to the definite conclusion that the US did indeed use bacteriological weapons in Korea and adjacent areas of China. 
The Korean War  (1950-1953) has been actively and purposely censored and suppressed in American textbooks, classrooms and the media, for three reasons. First, the United States got its butt convincingly whipped by the communists – Korean, Chinese and Russian all. Second, America committed genocide, by bombing North Korea with ten times the firepower of Hiroshima and Nagasaki combined, as well as 33,000 tons of napalm, for evil measure. There was literally not a building left standing north of the 38th parallel, while America exterminated 3,000,000 North Koreans, about 15% of the entire population. This war plan became the blueprint for continuing genocide in Vietnam, a decade later. Third, America committed the most heinous of crimes against humanity: the use of bioweapons against the North Koreans and Chinese.
Sylvia and John Powell were at the center of a legal and media firestorm, which lasted nearly a decade, 1953-1962, for reporting the horrific truth about America’s Korean War atrocities.
Thus it is very understandable that the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (North Korea) are so motivated to defend themselves from the US Empire by developing long range missiles.

Don’t be Fooled, the CIA was Only Half the Problem in Syria

Click here to access article by Steven MacMillan from New Eastern Outlook.

The author sees strong evidence that Trump is favoring the Pentagon in place of the CIA for its strategy to dismember northern Syria using Kurdish forces that they have been supporting for some time. This makes sense in that the CIA has been seen by Trump as an enemy of his administration and the source of negative leaks to corporate media. Also one must consider Trump's appointment of many military generals to his cabinet. Of course the US's pro-Kurdish strategy in Syria is diametrically opposed to Turkey's strong opposition to Kurdish power on its borders.

I think that this US strategy in Syria is likely due to Trump's ignorance of foreign affairs with the result that he is leaning on generals to formulate policies and strategies. Arguably generals are more concerned with battlefield victories rather than political considerations which may be the undoing of their strategy in Syria at the cost of the Syrian Kurds. With the latter's huge gamble on US support they are playing a high stakes game with, in my opinion, the odds very much against them. I see them as merely the current "useful idiots" of the Empire.
Undoubtedly, there are many good forces in the US military (as in any other large organization), and there is nothing wrong with having a military background. But equally, there is also many nefarious forces in the military, and the influence of military-industrial complex is pervasive, constantly agitating for more imperial wars.

With this context in mind, it is hardly surprising that Trump favours the Pentagon program over the CIA one, especially considering the power struggle taking place between the CIA and the military within the US. It should be highlighted that Trump has notcompletely halted all US programs to arm and train militias in Syria, he has merely shutdown one channel.

The Pentagon has been heavily involved in arming Kurdish forces in Syria, using them as a tool to attempt to Balkanize and fracture Syria into micro-states.

Saturday, July 29, 2017

Has Washington Lost the Middle East After Qatar? [a must read]

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

Engdahl scores again with this revealing analysis at the recent developments in the Middle East and, further back, to the Empire's war by proxy in Syria, and still further back by the US ruling class's reliance on Saudi Arabia to control its neighbors to insure the oil-backing of the US dollar. It's all about imperialism US style which has relied heavily on economic means to dominate much of the world; but where that doesn't work, they have used a variety of other means to insure their dominance (most recently proxy terrorist armies). But this regimen of dominance, named back in 1941 by US capitalist ruling class propagandists as the "American Century", is showing marked signs of rapid disintegration which Engdahl explains so well to reach this conclusion:
It ain’t easy to be the world’s Sole Superpower today, not at all as it was, say, in the 1990’s. Not even psychopathic generals with nicknames like Mad Dog can scare others into falling back in line when Washington barks her orders. Back as recent as the 1990s it was, so to say, a piece of cake. Run a war in Yugoslavia, destabilize the Soviet Union after a long war in Afghanistan, loot the former Communist economies of all Eastern Europe. Worse still, the world seems not to appreciate Washington’s wars of destruction anymore. Now that’s real ingratitude after all that Washington has done for them in recent years…

Could it be that the American Century, viewed by future historians, will have its obituary written around the time in 2017 when Washington lost control of the “strategic prize” as Dick Cheney called the energy-rich Middle East?

Friday, July 28, 2017

PBS’ Anti-Russia Propaganda Series

Click here to access article by Rick Sterling from ConsortiumNews
The U.S.-government-supported Public Broadcasting System (PBS) recently ran a five-part series dubbed “Inside Putin’s Russia”. With a different theme each night, it purports to give a realistic look at Russia today. The image conveyed is of a Russia that is undemocratic with widespread state repression, violence and propaganda. Following are significant distortions and falsehoods in the five-part documentary.
The Empire's ruling class is using all of its organs of misinformation to smear Russia and Putin in a desperate attempt to portray Russia as the new devil incarnate (to prepare us for an attack on Russia?) and to cover for its recent failed imperialist policies in Iraq, Libya, and Ukraine. Such policies have created vast armies of immigrants currently overwhelming Europe, killed and maimed untold millions of people, and have nothing positive to show for it--not even fossil fuel pipelines under the Empire's control.

Sterling reports on all the propaganda themes that pervades the PBS TV series of programs, while, in addition, providing valuable links to documentation that put the lie to such propaganda. 

Thursday, July 27, 2017

Is This The Way Capitalism Works or a Sign of Cultural Degeneration?

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

Roberts has a large following among liberals who, like old-fashioned conservatives such as Pat Buchanan, Ron Paul, and Roberts do not like today's government and its policies. However, they will go to the ends of the earth to deny that the latter has anything to do with capitalism. No, they always blame bureaucrats, neoliberalism, or as Roberts does in this article by suggesting that it might be due to "cultural degeneration". 

They loved the capitalism as was practiced before and during their youth while ignoring such facts as the imperialist history of the US from 1898 onwards, the numerous massacres by private armies and public militias of union organizers, the seizure of the control of our money by private banking interests, the constant cycle of recessions or depressions since the second half of the 19th century, etc. 

They loved capitalism throughout their careers and, through their services to the government, aided and abetted it by promoting low taxes on the rich and deregulation of corporate operations while being generously rewarded for their services. So, it may be understandable now that they will never criticize the system. Guilt? (Well, to be fair, Roberts with this headline may be starting to question the system.)

When you create a class system and endow a ruling class with special privileges, laws and practices that insure their prerogatives and protections--in the case of capitalism, those who already possess wealth--then you must accept the inevitable abuses of the system.

Wednesday, July 26, 2017

Washington Behind the Mirror

Click here to access article by Gordon Duff from New Eastern Outlook.

Duff attempts, and I believe largely succeeds, to bring us his assessment of the disturbing realities behind the mirror of fake corporate media reports. It seems that the crazies, the militarists, Christian fundamentalists (the Taliban and ISIS of America), Ziocons, and literally old Cold warriors are now at the helm of the nuclear weapons loaded, US-led Empire's ship of state. It might be a good time to re-view the 1964 film Dr. Strangelove.

Trump's political philosophy seems only guided by racism as revealed in his many vigorous attempts to roll-back any actions associated with the previous Obama administration (Affordable Care Act, Iran, Cuba). Otherwise he appears to be leaving policies regarding foreign affairs mostly to Pentagon generals except where his financial deals might be affected. It's no wonder that the atomic clock has been moved closer to midnight--the closest it has been since 1953 when...
Over the opposition of many nuclear scientists, the United States [the ruling class] decides to pursue the hydrogen bomb, a weapon far more powerful than any atomic bomb. In October 1952, the United States tests its first thermonuclear device, obliterating a Pacific Ocean islet in the process. Nine months later, the Soviets test an H-bomb of their own.
Except for his apparent racism, Trump's policies are understandable for someone of his limited experience: only as a real estate tycoon who has never held any elected public office and is ignorant of foreign affairs. But then, what choice did Americans really have in the last "democratic" election? Hillary, the mad-dog war monger, Clinton?

Tuesday, July 25, 2017

The Myth of the Kurdish YPG’s Moral Excellence

Click here to access article by Stephen Gowans from What's Left. (Some editing for clarity at 5:30 PM Seattle time on 7/26/2017)

The issue of the political idealism of the Syrian Kurds has been so confusing because a number of writers, who identify with the "left", have been inspired by the apparent political beliefs of this group. You only have to enter "Syrian Kurds" and/or "Rojava" in one of my search boxes to find many articles that extol the political virtues of this group as well as more recent articles that cast doubts on these Kurds. 

The Syrian conflict is a giant stew where many powers are involved and with very different objectives. I think that many left supporters are also confused. Even the Syrian Kurds appear to be divided on some issues. The General in command of US forces in Syria also seems confused, or at least worried, about their orientation: see this video from 54:15-55:54 in which Gen. Raymond Thomas is leery about their left-wing political orientation (the PKK are the Kurdish Workers Party with which the Syrian Kurds are affiliated).  (By the way, in this presentation he also admits that the US involvement in Syria is in conflict with international law: 53:35-54:13.)

In this rather lengthy article Gowans impresses me as being very knowledgeable about the Syrian Kurds whereas others such as David Graeber and Marcel Cartier seemed to believe the people they talked to on their visits, and Pepe Escobar apparently believed what he read in left-wing media. I notice that Graeber is still promoting the Syrian Kurds on what appears to be based purely on ideology that impressed him while on a 10 day visit reportedly in April of 2015.

A number of other writers like Tony Cartalucci, Alison Banville, and Sarah Abed are at least critical of the Syrian Kurds mainly because they are serving the interests of the US to balkanize Syria. I personally place great emphasis on deeds not words, and the fact that they have allowed the US to establish eight military bases on territory under their control is very disturbing. As we have seen, the US will use any forces to support their objective to destabilize the government of Syria or, failing that, at least to dismember it. 

Today's post entitled "Vying with Kurds: Turkey Opens a New Front in Syria" confirms what others have argued that the Turks will not tolerate a separate Kurdish state adjacent to their country. The project to destabilize Syria was undertaken by US coalition of forces, Saudi Arabia and its satellites, originally Turkey (but they are changing), and Israel, and this project is now doomed. The Syrian Kurds need to realize that and act accordingly by seeking compatible relations with the Syrian government with a hope for some kind of confederation status. Hopefully it's not already too late.

Social Security: The 14th Amendment and “Odious Debt”

Click here to access article by Dr. Nayvin Gordon from Dissident Voice.
Section 4 [of the 14th Amendment of the US Constitution]
The validity of the public debt of the United States, authorized by law, including debts incurred for payment of pensions and bounties for services in suppressing insurrection or rebellion, shall not be questioned.
I take it that Gordon questions the legality under the Constitution for permitting this "borrowing" because it wasn't "authorized by law".

A frequent theme among Congressional people and corporate media pundits is that Social Security is running out of money and is in crisis. Well--no wonder--with the use of these funds to offset taxes to the rich and fund our never-ending wars!  
For decades the politicians have not only borrowed from Social Security to run the government, but 70% of the national debt has been borrowed from banks, financial institutions, corporations and rich individuals.  The politicians borrowed because instead of taxing the rich banks and corporations, they cut their taxes.  As a result, workers’ taxes and Social Security payments provide almost 90% of the federal government’s revenues.
I particularly want to direct your attention to his reference to the Princeton University study which you can find here. The study reveals that democracy is fake like much else in our capitalist-run nation.
A 2014 study by Princeton University came to the conclusion that the majority of the American public actually has little influence over the policies the government adopts. 

Monday, July 24, 2017

Monopoly was invented to demonstrate the evils of capitalism

Click here to access article by Kate Raworth from Aeon.

The game of Monopoly has long been a source of wonder for me even though I played it a lot in my high school years without any concerns. To me at that time, it was only a game that had no relevance to contemporary society. Having since become aware of social justice issues and having to deal with adult reality, I have often wondered why such a game became so popular.  

After all, it is the ultimate expression in game form of sociopathy. To the extent that the game reflects any kind of reality, it celebrates sociopathy by making the best sociopath the winner. Of course, this is no accident. The game is an integral part of the indoctrination of capitalist values along with all the other pro-capitalist propaganda that all people are subject to growing up in a capitalist-ruled society.

I previously looked cursorily into the history of the game, but (as I remember) it lightly passed over the original game as invented by Elizabeth Magie and its original design and intent before Parker Brothers company got control of it. The company purchased the patent (nearly everything is a commodity under capitalism) and changed the original design of the game to what it essentially is today. Raworth gives us this original history and explains Magie's intended educational purpose of the game as an exercise in understanding the socially immoral aspects of capitalism.

Incidentally, in the 1980s while I was living in San Francisco, I tried to provide an alternative to Monopoly for my family by shopping at a store that advertised as having 10,000 games. I explained to the salesperson that I wanted a game that promoted cooperation, and I was told that they didn't have any such game! Magie's intent had been completely eliminated from any kind of board games.

Saturday, July 22, 2017

Sleeping Monster: The Trade in Services Agreement (TiSA) and Its Expansive Definition of “Services”

Click here to access article by Lambert Strether and posted on Naked Capitalism

This is the best article I could find about a report entitled "Foul Play" authored by Legal scholar Jane Kelsey from New Zealand who was apparently commissioned by the UNI Global Union to report on ongoing secret meetings held by transnational corporations to promote versions of TISA in any free trade agreement.  I am posting this because I think that all social justice advocates should be aware of the continuing attempts by transnational corporations to eliminate any governmental regulations that protect workers and might interfere with the profits of transnational corporations. 

I read only the initial Summary of the report and the Introduction. (You might want to see links to the various sections of the report here--you will need to scroll down.)