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, June 24, 2017

Has Washington Lost the Middle East After Qatar?

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

Engdahl sheds much needed light on the current oil and gas competition played out by all the world's major powers in the fossil fuel rich Middle East. He adds more signs that the US Empire's world hegemony project has ebbed. Can our masters who have resurrected the old cold warrior mentally accept their fate or will they use their huge stockpile of dangerous weapons in a desperate attempt to turn back the receding tide of power? That is the major question threatening human survival in the near term. Too bad that most Americans are so ignorant of this threat, and worse by being so disorganized to prevent a disastrous outcome.
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?

Deep History of America’s Deep State

Click here to access article by Jada Thacker from ConsortiumNews.

I highly recommend this to all Americans as a means of recovering a close approximation to the true early history of their country in contrast to the historical fiction they have been subject to in their early impressionable years as young students mostly in public schools. (I've often wondered how this fictional history compares to that given in private American schools.) This version of history forms a major core in the indoctrination received by American students to insure that they grow up to be devoted citizens, loyal workers, and willing recruits for armies advancing the nation's interests which is identical to that of the ruling capitalist class.

I have read many of the sources used by the author to uncover the real  history to know that his version is very close to reality. For those of you who want to read material by some of these authors, on the top of the list that I recommend should be anything by Charles Beard, a renowned historian of the early 20th century. Obviously none of the sources mentioned by Thacker have informed the fictional history as taught in public schools. Events such as Shays' Rebellion or the Whiskey Rebellion  are given only a cursory mention in history courses. I also learned of additional very promising historical sources such as the Anti-Federalist Papers and A Narrative of Some of the Adventures, Dangers and Sufferings of a Revolutionary Soldier by Joseph Plumb Martin. Hopefully I will find the time to read these materials in the future.

One episode that Thacker only alluded to as a general occurrence of the rich ruling class was one I read about Alexander Hamilton from other history sources. He, of course, is one of the reverently referred to "Founding Fathers". During the war the soldiers, farmers and working people (as usual) led by members of the local elites, fought the war against the British. It was a grueling war: many defeats were suffered at the hands of the British, long imprisonments in terrible conditions, and soldiers endured long delays in receiving their pay which also caused hardships for their families. Then when they were paid, they were usually paid in paper script (formally debt) issued either by their respective States or the Confederation government. This money depreciated dramatically over time until after the war it was nearly worthless. When the war was over, Secretary of the Treasury Hamilton and his capitalist friends quietly went about buying up all this script at their market value. Then after the Constitution was rammed through, they made sure that the new government assumed all of the debts for this old money and the other war debts at their face value

The only criticism I have of this post is Thacker's use of "Deep State" to refer to the ruling class of that time. The very useful concept of a Deep State is admittedly somewhat obscure, but this is only because of its secret nature. It comprises what some authors like Peter Dale Scott have long written about, and more recently people like Mike Lofgren. It is not a synonym for "ruling class" as Thacker uses the term. I wonder if Thacker intentionally omits the use of "ruling class" to avoid negative repercussions to his academic career.

Friday, June 23, 2017

Fear and loathing on the Afghan Silk Road

Click here to access article by Pepe Escobar from Asia Times

Implied in this article is essentially that China's major project of the new Silk Road network across Asia is in jeopardy due to the impending defeat of the Empire's terrorist armies in Syria. He sees a likely scenario in which the defeated terrorist proxy armies are sent to Afghanistan and reinforced by terrorist forces, doubtlessly supported by the CIA, in China's Xinjiang region and other adjacent areas. 

Thus the near future situation in Afghanistan looks very much like an unstoppable force meeting a difficult-to-move object. This may be the future's major pivotal event in the contest between the hegemonic US-led Empire versus the challenge posed by the China-Russia-Iran combination and their new Silk Road project. Sadly missing so far in this scenario is any major threat to the Empire's ruling classes posed by a vigorous anti-war movement within its borders. Although there are some signs that the US coalition behind the conflict in Syria is disintegrating, at the present time it appears that only bankruptcy threatens the Empire's resistance to their project. More austerity measures will be needed to stave off bankruptcy.  Perhaps anti-austerity movements within the US and some its allies will be sufficient to prevent a future "terrorist" war in Afghanistan as we've seen in Syria.  

Thursday, June 22, 2017

The Reason Behind the US Government’s Secret Hatred of Europeans [a best post]

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

Zuesse is identified by a wide range of descriptions. One has it that he is "is a cultural anthropologist, general systems theorist, economist, and investigative journalist." Others (here and here) describe him as an "investigative historian". I haven't been able to find sources that clearly identify his educational background and career. However his web posts on a variety of highly selective websites testify to his competence in uncovering "the truths that contradict Big Brother's lies".  

This article, which supplies via links to other excellent articles and documents which, in turn, contain other links, etc., provides a mother lode of information about "truths that contradict Big Brother's lies". (One such important link brought me to a Wikipedia post that documents the efforts by powerful organizations and people who use Wikipedia to pass on self-serving information--documenting what I've often suspected.) I have studied the article for the past three hours and have only scratched the surface.  It is well worth studying and saving for future reference.

Having said that, I also have some criticisms to offer. One criticism is the same as I've offered several times before: his use of the term "aristocracy". The term refers accurately to ruling classes that governed under the system of feudalism, but he uses it to inaccurately refer to contemporary ruling classes who govern under the system of capitalism. (The term is accurate when he refers to the Saudi ruling class which is ruled under a feudal system.)

Another criticism is that he makes the allegation that "the Sauds financed the 9/11 attacks in the United States ....". (Although in my perusal this morning I didn't find conclusive evidence that backed this up. He certainly did supply a lot of evidence indicating that the Saudis have been providing financing for many terrorist organizations and activities.)

Based on these two criticisms, I have formed an hypothesis for you to consider. I think that the two criticisms illustrate what I have often argued in previous post commentaries: that members of the highly educated upper middle class have been co-opted to serve the ruling class or have been so intimidated that they will not cross certain "red lines". This rests on the assumption that Eric Zuesse is a member of this class. Identifying people by class is always a bit problematic, and this is especially so with Zuesse about whom so little is known--maybe deliberately so. But his writings clearly illustrate that he is highly educated. 

Regarding the first criticism, I think he uses the term "aristocracy" to deflect any identification of the real system that is clearly dominant throughout the world--capitalism. 

The second criticism suggests that the Saudis are responsible for 9/11! This deflects attention away from any US agents shaping the events that led up to 9/11 to promote a project of the capitalist US ruling class in collusion with their Zionist allies (both within the ruling class and abroad): a dramatic terrorist event that would incite the American public to support much more militarily aggressive foreign policies. The 9/11 event supplied the "Peal Harbor" event that was referred to in the 2000 paper "Rebuilding America's Defenses" produced by the Zionist-inspired Project for the New American Century, a major "think" tank of the ruling class. 

It must be recognized that criticism by major intellectuals against US foreign policies are tolerated as acceptable by the ruling class within certain limits. The "red lines" are any criticism of the system of capitalism and any important revelations about the many nefarious activities of the ruling class's secret services such as the CIA, NSA, etc, and the rest of their Deep State ("think tanks" where real policies are formed). The limits are broader for academics who tend to publish their articles in obscure journals only read by other academics. Increasingly we are seeing a few brave academics publishing their articles on alternative websites, of which this post is an example. However, they often betray their cautiousness about offending the ruling capitalist class with tricks such as Zuesse uses.

Perhaps the most valuable contribution given by this article is that he does provide solid reasons for the "US government’s secret hatred of Europeans", and I think this sheds important light on what is currently happening not only in Europe, but in other parts of the world.

Wednesday, June 21, 2017

On the Arrest of Two US Citizens in the DPRK and the Release of One

Click here to access article by Konstantin Asmolov from New Eastern Outlook.

Dr. Asmolov, a Russian historian, offers a different view of two US citizens that were arrested and incarcerated in the Democratic Peoples Republic of Korea (DPRK). He provides many details missing from the obvious propaganda pieces published by the Empire's media corporations. Finally he concludes the article with this statement:
... no matter what North Korea does, with a certain skill, it can be turned into an illustration of how the DPRK is a country of total horror. The fanning of the story of the “medical experiments on prisoners” reinforces the idea that ​​the DPRK is a country ruled by a cruel and irrational regime from which one can expect virtually anything, and, accordingly, adds fuel to the beliefs of those who think that a “preemptive” military operation against such a regime is not only morally just, but also strategically apt.

John Pilger, Vanessa Beeley on Sputnik with Neil Clark – The Age of Media Mass Deception

Click here if you wish to access the interviews on RT/Sputnik's Neil Clark's show directly from The Wall Will Fall. (I'm posting this from Vanessa Beely's The Wall Will Fall website because it adds additional material and does a better job of framing the issue of corporate media as fake news.)

Because Western media corporations blacklist journalists that report news and views that conflict with the Empire's propaganda, many dedicated independent journalists and news analysts are using RT's vast media facilities as the only way to reach large audiences. True, their reporting and observations appear on other small websites including their own; but to reach worldwide audiences, these two outstanding journalists chose to use RT's facilities.
“The times we live in are so dangerous and so distorted in public perception that propaganda is no longer, as Edward Bernays called it, an “invisible government”. It is the government. It rules directly without fear of contradiction and its principal aim is the conquest of us: our sense of the world, our ability to separate truth from lies. The information age is actually a media age. We have war by media; censorship by media; demonology by media; retribution by media; diversion by media – a surreal assembly line of obedient clichés and false assumptions.” ~ John Pilger

20th June 2017

RT/SPUTNIK

He has been defying the Establishment gatekeepers and telling us the truth about what’s really going on in the world for over 50 years. He has covered wars around the world from Vietnam to Iraq, and is also an award-winning documentary filmmaker. For many, John Pilger is the journalists’ journalist, and he came into the Sputnik studio to give us his thoughts on the state of the press today.

And, US-led airstrikes on Raqqa have, as the UN observed, led to a ‘staggering loss of civilian life.‘ The US-led coalition has also admitted to using white phosphorus, but the media reaction in the West has been muted, to say the least. It’s all a far cry from the headlines when Syrian forces – with Russian support – were trying to liberate Aleppo in December. Vanessa Beeley has reported from Syria during the current conflict many times, so we invited her into the studio to discuss these glaring double standards in the m

Tuesday, June 20, 2017

Half of World Could See Deadly Heat Waves By 2100

Click here to access article by Andrea Thompson from Climate Central.
Even with drastic cuts to the emissions of greenhouse gases that are driving up Earth’s temperature, more than half of the world’s population could be exposed to deadly heat waves by century’s end.

US Downs Syrian Warplane Over Syria Amid War on ISIS

Click here to access article by Tony Cartalucci from New Eastern Outlook

Cartalucci is a master at finding and publicizing documents from the Empire's Deep State that rules the US and much of the world. By digging up documents from the latter's organizations (US Defense Intelligence Agency and Brookings) which are rarely reported in corporate media (used only as propaganda support for the Deep State's policies and actions), he reminds us that the US aggressive role in Syria is that of regime change with the clear implication that they are using terrorist organizations and the Syrian Kurds to carve up Syria with the eventual aim of replacing the Syrian government with a government that suits the directors of the US Empire. Using this as a realistic basis for a geopolitical analysis, he continues on to speculate about the outcome of the latest aggressive action by US forces. 

Finally, in the last paragraph which is a bit marred by punctuation errors, he calls on alternative media to amplify the Empire's real agenda in Syria:
However, the US itself – while crafting narratives to enable its Syrian policy – claims that regime change at this point would only empower extremist groups in Syria including the Islamic State. Thus it would be most beneficial to Syria and its allies for alternative media sources to remind the public of this fact and what both current and wider US aggression against Damascus would mean in terms of enabling, not ending the Islamic State’s reign of terror both in the region, and around the globe. [with my corrections]

Monday, June 19, 2017

Syrian-Kurdish clashes: new conflict or “new Détente”?

Click here to access article by Andrew Korybko from The Duran

Hopefully I may be forgiven for running so many articles (see this, this, this, this, and this) involving the Syrian Kurds. In my defense I argue that I felt deceived by the series of reports, which I often posted, run by "Reflections on a Revolution" in 2014 when the website was under the control of Jerome Roos and associates. Also the Syrian Kurds could be a major factor in the outcome of the Syrian conflict and a potential flashpoint for a nuclear war.

Korybko carefully parses the geopolitical interests of all the players in this conflict and suggests possible outcomes. It is very much like a deadly game of "chicken" with worldwide implications, and by far the most aggressive player is the armed-to-the-teeth US Empire.

If you have the time, you might also be interested in two additional articles from The Duran: "Israel could regret its support for Kurds" and "Leftist fighters in Syria have become useful idiots of neo-imperialism" both by Adam Garrie. A quote from the latter article:
What would one call a group of left and far-left armed militants who are actively fighting with a singular radical ethnic faction in order to destabilise and ultimately partition a legally recognised state whose government is ironically socialist and anti-imperialist in nature? Furthermore, what would you call it when these leftists are fighting under proxies of the United States who are supported by the genocidal state of Israel and now also the backward, terrorist sponsoring Wahhabi Kingdom of Saudi Arabia?

The words: hypocrites, useful idiots and controlled opposition come to mind.

Sunday, June 18, 2017

Two Cheers for the Nation State

Click here to access article by Frank Lee from OffGuardian.

Lee gives an excellent history of the transformation from early capitalist imperialism to what has occurred under the dominance of US capitalist leadership following WWII. He argues that the twin pillars of the US dominance are the US currency and NATO, the latter being the ultimate enforcer of US Empire policies. Those like Muammar Qaddafi or Saddam Hussein who have the nerve to establish an independent currency or who lack understanding of this first pillar always are crushed by the forces of NATO or a combination of its members--always of course to prevent "terrorism", "weapons of mass destruction", or for "humanitarian" reasons, etc.
This the new imperialism resembled a tiered structure. The hegemon – the US – was the undisputed leader at the top of the pyramid, next came western Europe and Japan and South Korea (both virtual semi-colonies of the US) and then the developing world. The exceptions to this were those states who were then outside of this system: The USSR and its east European satellites as well as China North Korea and in turn Indo-China and Cuba. However, during the post-Berlin Wall period, nearly all Eastern Europe, outside of Russia, has been absorbed into the US unipolar empire, becoming dual members (apart from Ukraine and Georgia) of both the EU and NATO.

The US rules this empire politically, economically, militarily and culturally.
(I am always startled when I watch foreign movies by the frequent appearance of American cultural items.)

But then in rest of the essay his analysis is filled with errors and omissions in his effort to argue for the return of national sovereignty, particularly the sovereignty of those nations that now are vassals states of the US Empire. 

There are two major factors that are missing in his analysis. The first is the importance of the third pillar supporting the Empire--the control of Western mass media to insure that the vast populations under the control of the US Empire are indoctrinated with news, information, and ideas that support its hegemony. Thus the last statement quoted above should read:
The US rules this empire politically, economically, militarily, [ideologically] and culturally.
(It is not sufficient to subsume the ideological factor under culture.)

The second major factor is the more egregious one: the absence of a class analysis. (This is puzzling because in the very first paragraph he refers to several classic socialists who saw class conflict as the core dynamic of capitalist nation-states.) This leads him into arguing for the return of sovereign nation-states, particularly the restoration of such nations that are presently under the control of the US Empire. And, he forgets that many of the old European capitalist states carved up the rest of world into their own colonial empires. He also overlooks the major fact that after WWII the US capitalist class took advantage of their nation's power to collect various capitalist elites in countries under their domination (Europe, Japan, and the residue of the British Empire) and formed what has since developed into a trans-national capitalist empire that is often accurately referred to as the US Empire. 

Nation-states were a creation of capitalists which replaced kingdoms in the system of feudalism in which monarchs and aristocrats comprised the ruling class. Assuming that humans have a future, once capitalism with its classes disappear from history, nation-states will also disappear into other formations controlled by and for all humans.

US Intervention in Syria at Crossroads

Click here to access article by Daniel Lazare from ConsortiumNews

Lazare gives an excellent geopolitical description of the current situation in eastern Syria in the wider context of relations among the US and Middle Eastern countries. Of direct personal interest to me was his implication that the Syrian Kurds are actively collaborating with the US to establish their own independent territory.  

(Here and here are two additional maps regarding the area which he refers to in this analysis.)