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 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.