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, April 29, 2017

Fake News

Click here to access article by Patrice P. Greanville from The Greanville Post. (A wonderful little article and introduction to some of his posts.)
The Battle of Communications between antiwar anti-imperialist media and the monstrous Machine of Disinformation protecting the empire, misleadingly cloaked in the sanctimonious garb of a fight against Fake News, is clearly sharpening as major corporate media like the abject Washington Post are openly leading the underhanded and cowardly attack on Free Speech while pretending to be concerned about the nonexistent purity of American electoral processes and the truthfulness of what the American public is exposed to.

"A Political Explosion“: The Systemic Crisis of Capitalism and the Anger of the Working Class

Click here if you wish to access the script of the interview with American economist Richard D. Wolff conducted by Fabian Scheidler of a German left-wing website called Kontext, otherwise listen to Wolff's comments in the video below. 

In this first part of a longer interview Wolff summarizes the effects of neoliberalism on workers throughout the world with special emphasis on workers in the advanced capitalist countries. I think you can skip his commentary about bringing about change that he deals with in the remainder of the interview, but this first part, I believe, gives some accurate insights about the plight of workers in the advanced capitalist nations confronting the current contradictions that neoliberal capitalists have created.
“If you make a tiny group of people, say five percent, very very wealthy, and you plunge the mass of people into a declining, frightening situation, you will have a political explosion.” The shift of employment to low-wage countries and the dismantling of the New Deal and the welfare state have created a structural crisis of capitalism and, at the same time, a political crisis. The working class is “agitated and worried”. “The rich, knowing that the mass of people are angry, have decided to manage the situation by buying the political system, by literally taking it away from any democratic foundation.” The anger of the working class has contributed decisively to the shift to the right in Germany, the ascent of the Front National in France, the election of Donald Trump, and Brexit. 

Great Barrier Reef Reaches "Terminal Stage" as CO2 Levels Rise at Record Rate

Click here to access article by Dahr Jamail from TruthOut.

I remember in my teenage years back in the 1950s seeing scenes of the gorgeous underwater coral displays that must have been located at the John Pennekamp Coral Reef State Park just south of Miami. I remember the Christ statue that lay at the bottom of the sea in this Florida state park; and with that memory in mind, in the early 1990s I went on a guided tour conducted by the staff at the park. I had done a lot of skin diving (free diving), so I brought along fins, diving mask, and snorkel. My god, was I disappointed--really quite shocked to see the statue surrounded by the bleached out coral everywhere. So I readily understood Jamail's reaction during his visit to the Australian Great Barrier Reef.
Species, ecosystems, glaciers, sea ice and humans themselves continue to absorb and pay for this human experiment of industrialization gone horribly awry. Many are paying with their very existence.

Two months ago, I spent some time researching and writing in Australia. I visited the Great Barrier Reef (GBR), where I reveled in the majesty of intact towering coral structures flourishing with marine life. Yet I was also devastated during this visit -- again and again, I happened upon bleached out and silently dead areas of barren coral wasteland, which not long ago teemed with living beings. Roughly 20 percent of the coral on the outer reef were already bleached, and on their way towards death.

Friday, April 28, 2017

The U.S. Political Scene: Whiteness and the Legitimacy Crisis of Global Capitalism

Click here to access article by Salvador Rangel and Jeb Sprague-Silgado from TeleSur. (There is one obvious error in the article: Vermont's Sen. Bernie Sanders is referred to as Delaware's senator.)

The two sociology professors from the University of California clarify the methods that our masters in the capitalist ruling class have used in recent decades to fool the people into supporting the ruling class's global agendas. 
Within the U.S. political scene into [In the political scene of] the 1990s conservative and liberal establishments together developed new mechanisms of capital accumulation while chipping away at the power of labor, such as NAFTA (the North American Free Trade Agreement). On the conservative side: xenophobic candidates like Pat Buchanan and anti-NAFTA business leaders such as Ross Perot were sidelined. On the liberal side, the remnants of strong labor voices were silenced. A grand bargain was struck between a conservative militaristic establishment and a liberal establishment espousing a sort of anti-worker multiculturalism (with its growing identitarian acceptance of peoples from different ethnicities and sexual orientations, alongside viewing workers as cogs to be seamlessly integrated into a new globalized economy). Under these circumstances, profits grew tremendously for transnational capital (aided especially by new-fangled financial mechanisms). Meanwhile, workers faced stagnation, dispossession, and heightened job insecurity. [my suggested editing]
The sociology professors also recognize that Trump was not the first choice of the ruling class, but they have managed to turn him to support their neoliberal and imperial agendas.
Relying upon recycled mantras of xenophobia and nationalism, the Trumpian right seeks to head off the legitimacy crisis of transnational capital. However rather than propose an alternative to transnational capital, they propose an alternative strategy for reproducing it. Also disconcerting are the growing threats of war, as neo-conservative groups (so heavily involved in the U.S. war crimes of recent decades) appear to have reasserted their influence over the white house. 
Their last languid paragraph, I think, is illustrative of a desire to preserve their careers at the university. (Who can blame them?)
Progressive, left, and social movement forces in the U.S. need to build on successes of the past as well as move beyond them, taking on, for instance, a more pro-active position against militarism and a deeper critique of capitalism.
What we really need is a dedicated revolutionary movement to overturn the ruling capitalist class and its system; and not only to replace it with a sustainable system that serves the vast majority, but to enable humans as a species to survive.

Extreme Arctic Melt Is Raising Sea Level Rise Threat; New Estimate Nearly Twice IPCC's

Click here to access article by Sabrina Shankman from Inside Climate News

ICN editors summary:
Trajectory of dramatic climate change in the Arctic is locked in through 2050, but what happens after that depends largely on our [ruling class] choices today, report says. (my editing)
Shankman writes:
The reports synthesize the best peer-reviewed science on various Arctic-related issues, with the hope of informing policy decisions. This work is the bread and butter of the Arctic Council, an eight-country, intergovernmental diplomatic body that commissions and directs work on the Arctic but cannot itself make policy.

The findings are not easy to stomach.

Thursday, April 27, 2017

Why Scientists Marched

Click here to access article by Jill Richardson from Other Words

Because capitalism serves only a tiny class of people, this organization of the economy is increasingly at odds with the vast majority of people. Among the many other problems it is causing for the latter, it is currently threatening to destabilize the climate to the point where conditions on our Earth no longer will sustain human life. Trump has played the capitalist game and is one of this tiny class that owns most everything of value and together with his fellow capitalists essentially "owns" the government. 

Because they depend upon the vast majority to keep capitalism afloat, his actions (like theirs) very often are in conflict with his words. The management of thought is now the highest priority among this ruling class to keep their system functioning. However because of his personal history exclusively as a real estate tycoon, he is not sophisticated in the arts of lying and deception like Obama and former presidents were. Along with Trump's mental health, this is something that is a major worry for his fellow capitalists. And, scientists especially are concerned because they know that Trump, while maximizing profits for his class, is also destroying the future for humans. As Richardson explains:
He put Myron Ebell — described by Business Insider as “a man who denies basic science” — in charge of his Environmental Protection Agency transition team. Ebell’s qualifications? He worked at an ideological libertarian think tank. He has no science background.
This administration also rejected the recommendations of government scientists and chose to allow farmers to continue using a toxic pesticide known to harm children.

Meanwhile Trump is trying to cut scores of science programs, many of them related to Earth science and climate science.

These cuts won’t just harm conservation, regulation, and other goals Trump doesn’t like but are necessary if we want to continue living on a hospitable planet.

Tribunal finds Monsanto an abuser of human rights and environment

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

Although there have been many discussions and proposals about an international court since WWI, it was only after WWII and the International Military Tribunal that tried Nazi war criminals that there was a strong push to set up similar international courts. Due to the Cold War and the lack of support by major countries, only tribunals have succeeded in being established. The only two I am familiar with are the International Court of Justice (ICJ) established in 1946 and a branch of the United Nations and the International Criminal Court (ICC) that was established by the Treaty of Rome in 1998 by many nations and became active in 2002. Both are located in The Hague, a city on the south coast of Holland. 

(Incidentally, Nicaragua in 1986 brought a case against USA in the ICJ for various war crimes, and the court essentially found the US guilty: "The very long judgment first listed 291 points, among them that the United States had been involved in the 'unlawful use of force'.") 

On April 18th the ICC found Monsanto guilty of violating internationally recognized human rights.
The tribunal, consisting of five international judges, has found Monsanto guilty. The tribunal is not a court of law and it has no power to enforce any judgment. The decision is a moral one, albeit grounded, the tribunal says, in international human rights and humanitarian law.
Dolack concludes correctly that capitalism is in contradiction to human rights because its priority is maximization of profit, and in order to survive corporations must continue to grow.
That concept of human rights, however, is in conflict with the mandates of capitalism — including the relentless competitive pressures that make “grow or die” an imperative. The domination of markets by a small number of behemoths is the inevitable product of that ceaseless competition, behemoths that by virtue of their immense size and command of capital can and do exert dominance over government and civil society.

Wednesday, April 26, 2017

The Not-So-Grand Strategy Behind America’s Warring Around

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

Engdahl offers his framework about the long-range project of Anglo-American capitalists into which he sees the zigs and zags of recent foreign policy tactics of the Trump administration continuing. Like other informed commentators, he sees a very dangerous world ahead.
It’s getting pretty crazy, the warring around of Washington since the Trump Project took office January 20. The question is whether there is a true strategy behind the dramatic escalation of Trump Administration military aggression around the world. There definitely is in my view, and it’s not good for world peace, not good for the United States and the rest of the world.

America’s Rich Get Richer and the Poor Get Replaced by Robots

Click here to access article by Vincent Del Giudice and Wei Lu from Bloomberg News.

The technology that was created by workers has led to replacing other workers with robots. This is another illustration of how under the rules and logical dynamics of capitalism are leading to the concentration of wealth and power for a tiny ruling class who rule the US-led Empire and is hell-bent on ruling the world. 

Instead of liberating humans from repetitive drudgery and working long hours, technological advancements could be used to free them to pursue education and preparing them to govern societies for their benefit. However under capitalist governance it's clear that the technological creations of workers are being used to put them in ever deeper poverty, ignorance, and hopelessness.

‘Mad Dog’ Mattis Going Rabid

Click here to access article by Eric Zuesse from Strategic Culture Foundation.
Trump is taking over where Obama left off.

Russian Television reported (and U.S. ‘news’ media refused to report) U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, on April 6th, two days after the alleged sarin attack, as essentially demanding Putin’s capitulation, regarding the Syrian war:
"'It is very important that the Russian government consider carefully their support for Bashar al-Assad.’ Tillerson added. Asked if the US will lead a regime change effort in Syria, Tillerson said that 'those steps are underway.'"

Russians got the message, even if Americans did not. In other words, they know that the Trump Administration is continuing what had originally been the Obama Administration’s objective, prior to Russia’s entry into the war on Assad’s side on 30 September 2015: regime-change in Syria. The Trump Administration is apparently willing to go to war against Russia in order to remove Assad and replace him with a leader who is supported by the U.S., Sauds, and America’s other allies in the war to replace Syria’s existing government.
It’s not only Mattis who is «rabid». So is his President, Trump; and, if the even more rabid H.R. McMaster gets his way, so too will be the entire world.

Pleasing America’s «military-industrial complex» is hard to do, but Trump’s Administration is trying hard to out-do its predecessors, at that task.
It appears that Trump, in order to stay in power, has succumbed to the pressure of the neoconservative war hawks. If he succeeds in pleasing them, I see two consequences: 1) Trump will start receiving favorable treatment in corporate media, and 2) we can kiss our asses goodbye.

Climate Evangelists Are Taking Over Your Local Weather Forecast: Sunny with a scientific certainty of climate change

Click here to access article by Eric Roston from Bloomberg News

Although the editors of Bloomberg News while identifying corporate news meteorologists as "climate evangelists" managed to suggest in a deprecating way to not take them seriously, the content of Roston's article shows that they are serving as an effective subversive influence in corporate media to act against Trump's denial of global warming and the findings of climate scientists. However, the ruling class's concern is not the deleterious effects that this will have on humans, rather their concern is informed by a worry about continuing economic growth which is required for a capitalist economy as is illustrated in the following 2:38m video:

Brave new world of America today

by cartoonist Brian McFadden

You have to be brave to live in it.

Tuesday, April 25, 2017

America is trying to block the path of the “Shiite crescent” from Syria and is preparing the ground for a “new Middle East”.

Click here to access article by Elijah J. Magnier from his website.

If my memory serves me correctly, Magnier is a Kuwaiti analyst of Middle East military and political events. He has also earned the respect of one of America's foremost independent political bloggers at Moon of Alabama (Bernhard) who wrote on one of his posts referring to Magnier: "As he is one of the most knowledgeable experts on the war in Syria and Iraq his thoughts deserve a wider discussion."


The main point that I am trying to convince my readers is that this post of Magnier's and a prior post of mine entitled "Three Green Berets killed by ISIS infiltrator after CIA ignored warnings" (sourced from a website operated by veterans of Special Operations) offers more evidence that the US is training, funding, organizing, and weaponizing terrorist armies in Syria. (That is, if you had any doubts!)

The numerous terrorist armies have been assigned various names--probably to add more confusion to foreigners trying to figure out what is happening in Syria (also their attempt to separate terrorist armies from rebel armies)--have been recruited among Sunnis that had supported President Sadam Hussein and experienced torture at Abu Ghraib operated by the US military in Iraq, from the jails of Saudi Arabia, and dissidents from a variety of other Muslim countries in the Middle East. They have been trained and issued weapons by Saudi Arabia (and other affiliated Gulf feudal kingdoms, the US, and Turkey; and launched from Turkey, western Iraq, and Jordan to destabilize Syria. They have also been supported militarily and medically by Israel. Each of these players continue to have their own reasons for regime change in Syria.

Notice on this map that Sweida is, as Magnier wrote, near the Jordanian border, and Abu Kamal is in eastern Syria which lends support to his argument:
The United States has provided the necessary weapons for these rebel forces – the intensity of the usage of the anti-tank and anti-personnel TOWs laser guided missile is the best indicator. If these forces reach alBu [sic] Kamal (about 700 km from Suwayda), they would stop any possible intervention of Iraqi forces in Syria, under the pretext of hunting down ISIS to prevent their return to Iraq. In fact, this plan is not innocently aiming to disrupt the ISIS connection between Syria and Iraq, but to put an end to the “Shiite crescent”.

This “Shiite crescent” that the Sunni Gulf countries fear – not feared by the United States because it doesn’t represent any threat to the US security – is connecting Tehran, Baghdad, Damascus and Beirut.

How Come Central Asian States have Become a Breading [sic] Ground for Terrorism

Click here to access article by Jean Perier from New Eastern Outlook. (All I was able to find about the author was this note from The News Doctor's website: "Jean Périer is an independent researcher and analyst and a renowned expert on the Near and Middle East, exclusively for the online magazine “New Eastern Outlook”. He is likely French and his use of English is rather awkward if not in error in some places. Also "CIS" means Commonwealth of Independent States.)

The author provides a very good understanding of why so many people from mostly Muslim countries are so easily recruited into terrorist armies.
Large criminal groups or other marginal social groups that are turning individuals into would-be-terrorists if they are to be approached by radical recruiters. However, at the heart of any criminal activities lies the economic situation that a state has found itself into. Countries with weak economies and high unemployment rates are virtually pushing the lowest strata of the population into getting engaged in offensive activities. That is where extremist recruiters come in, offering both significant financial benefits to those willing to take the risk of becoming a terrorist and the long-time occupation to all sorts of marginals. If there’s no financing, there’s no terrorism. [my emphasis]
The low cultural level of the marginals that are usually getting recruited by terrorist groups usually can be easily transformed into the fanatical devotions to the ideas of radicalism, that exists with the sole purpose of reducing the costs of needed to stage a terrorist act.

Top 4 Worst pieces of Climate News from WMO in Age of Trump

Click here to access article by Juan Cole from his blog Informed Comment
The World Meteorological Organization of the United Nations issued its annual report on the climate on Tuesday, making a full and final assessment of 2016.

It was not good news.

It was big news, but it wasn’t good news. Also, surprise, it wasn’t reported on most television “news,” otherwise known as babysitting for adults.
 

Too rich (and powerful) to care

by political cartoonist Dwayne Booth (AKA "Mr. Fish").

Monday, April 24, 2017

Donald Trump Has Been Played Like a Violin

Click here to access article by David William Pear from OpEdNews
Trumps critics are so numerous, unrelenting and persistent that like a cornered rat, Trump lost any sanity that he may have possessed and instead of lashing out at his tormentors, he lashed out at Syria's president Bashar al-Assad. Just like a drunk that comes home and beats his wife, terrorize his children, busts up the furniture and kicks the dog it accomplished nothing but chaos, but it feels so good to blow off some steam, even if it is at the wrong target.

Now Trump has a lot of damage to repair and it will take more than a night in the drunk tank to patch up the mess he has made. It is probably beyond redemption. Worse is that like an alcoholic there is no cure for someone drunk with power. Predictably Trump will continue with his unpredictable binges on which he prides himself. The world will now be walking on eggshells waiting for Trumps next irrational outburst.

Trump is not the only insane actor.
Judging by Trump's actions after only three months in office, I think that Pear has Trump figured out. If we ordinary Americans, and many others around world, survive the next four years reasonably intact, it will be a miracle. The latest evidence to support this view of Trump's administration is this 17:03m YouTube video essay (starting at 1:20m after a promotional message) entitled "McMaster of War" constructed by Kurt Nimmo and posted on Newsbud. Rabid neoconservatives are now in control of the US and its Empire. 

As long as they can control Trump, their latest useful idiot, this remains true; but even if they get rid of Trump, they will place another useful idiot in charge. Rabid capitalist hawks in the directorate of the US Empire are the puppeteers who now conduct this show of horrors.

Google now threatening Alt-News web-sites

Click here to access article by Eric Zuesse from OffGuardian
I used to be published at places such as Huffington Post, Salon, and Common Dreams, but the number of sites that are willing to publish me has gradually reduced as more and more of my articles came to expose the operations that control the U.S. federal government. None of those publishers explained to me why they were dropping me. But now I understand. And Google isn’t alone in this; they’re part of the same operation that has taken over the U.S. and many foreign ‘news’ operations and thus now controls what the publics believe, in many countries.

Sunday, April 23, 2017

'The Kurds': Internationalists or Narrow Nationalists?

Click here to access article by Marcel Cartier (see also this and this) from TeleSur.

This article is an excellent followup of another article (by the same author) which I posted on the 14th of April with my commentary (please read my commentary if you are not familiar with it). In that article I discussed my confusion about the goals of the Syrian Kurds (based in Rojava, Syria and referred to by various names (Kurdish Freedom Movement or KCK,  Democratic Union Party or PYD, the Kurdish People's Protection Units or YPG). They are oriented around the ideas promoted by Abdullah Ocalan who, in turn, has been strongly influenced by the libertarian socialist ideology of American Murray Bookchin.

In this current article Cartier does not deal with the confusion that I mentioned in my commentary to my earlier post regarding US military installations on territory under the control of Syrian Kurds, however he declares from a visit to the region and interviews with many Syrian Kurds that their orientation differs radically from Iraqi Kurds led by Masoud Barzani who have managed with the help of the US to carve out a mostly independent region in northern Iraq. Cartier declares that the Syrian Kurds have no intention of playing along with the plans by the Empire and associates to dismember Syria.

From viewing the second video (produced by "Films for Action") of the three included in the article, you will learn that Turkey's policies under Erdogan are actively supporting ISIS to carry out his obsessive concern to suppress any kind of Kurdish independence. This corroborates the many articles I posted several years ago that documented Turkey's support for the ISIS terrorists and their collaboration with NATO, Saudi Arabia (and their feudal Arab allies), and Israel to dismember Syria. As you can see, there is an complex stew of motives of the various actors participating in the project to dismember Syria arrayed against the forces of the Syrian government, Russia, Iran, and Hezbollah.