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 23, 2012

Dear Mr. Dimon, Is Your Bank Getting Corporate Welfare?

Click here to access article by the editors of Bloomberg News.

Even the editors of this premier international capitalist media source are getting a bit worried about corporate welfare to the bondholders and banks in the form of below market interest loans along with other loan cost reductions. Thus, banks use leveraged government debt-money to make highly risky bets in capitalist casinos without worrying much about the outcomes. When the bets go bad citizens of various countries are left with a wrecked economy in hock to the bondholders who bought government bonds. Bloomberg editors are perfectly aware that people participating in such scams are threatening the very foundations of capitalism--the goose that lays their golden eggs.
In recent decades, governments and central banks around the world have developed a consistent pattern of behavior when trouble strikes banks that are large or interconnected enough to threaten the broader economy: They step in to ensure that all the bank’s creditors, not just depositors, are paid in full. Although typically necessary to prevent permanent economic damage, such bailouts encourage a reckless confidence among creditors. They assume the government will always make them whole, so they become willing to lend at lower rates, particularly to systemically important banks.
This and the whole sovereign debt crisis is explained by Matt Taibbi and Yves Smith in this excellent 26:58m video interview with Bill Moyers. (This will be broadcast tomorrow on the Bill Moyers program on most PBS stations.)

Beyond the Politics of the Big Lie: The Education Deficit and the New Authoritarianism

Click here to access article by Henry A Giroux from Truthout.

I believe that the secret of capitalism's success under the rule of the Empire's decision-makers and political operatives has been the shaping of information to disable the ability of citizens to think critically and to fill their brains with Empire propaganda. Giroux uses a concept, "permanent education", first proposed by Raymond Williams in 1967, to expand on this broader meaning of education. I doubt that Williams imagined the extent to which this insidious weapon would be applied. It is now a ubiquitous project in the US and exists from the cradle to the grave for its citizens. That is precisely why the most crucial revolutionary projects are for activists to establish their own media and their own schools. 

Williams explains what he means by this concept:
What it valuably stresses is the educational force of our whole social and cultural experience. It is therefore concerned, not only with continuing education, of a formal or informal kind, but with what the whole environment, its institutions and relationships, actively and profoundly teaches....
Giroux is no radical, but he certainly has a profound understanding of this subject.

History is the enemy as 'brilliant' psy-ops become the news

Click here to access article by John Pilger from his blog. 

This piece provides a good antidote for the incessant reporting by US mainstream media of war crimes perpetrated by the Syria government--obviously the latest member to be appointed to the Empire's list of "evil doers".  In any area of the world where independent journalists are lacking for any reason, opportunities abound for Empire media agents to distort and fabricate all kinds of stories to serve the interests of the One Percent. I'm thinking of North Korea, Africa, as well as Syria.

I am providing this paragraph from Pilger's article in order to include links to the referred to documents:
The threats against Syria, co-ordinated in Washington and London, scale new peaks of hypocrisy. Contrary to the raw propaganda presented as news, the investigative journalism of the German daily Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung [see this for a summary in English] identifies those responsible for the massacre in Houla as the 'rebels' backed by Obama and Cameron. The paper's sources include the rebels themselves. This has not been completely ignored in Britain. Writing in his personal blog, ever so quietly, Jon Williams, the BBC world news editor, effectively dishes his own 'coverage', citing western officials who describe the 'psy-ops' operation against Syria as 'brilliant'. As brilliant as the destruction of Libya, and Iraq, and Afghanistan.
No one competes with Empire operatives who have been guilty of the worst human rights violations and war crimes in history. 

What Gina did next

Click here to access this edited extract from Gina Rinehart: The Untold Story of the Richest Woman in the World, a biography by Adele Ferguson, from The Age (Australia). 

Here is another example, this time from Australia, that illustrates how the top layer of the One Percents are subverting entire nations to serve their interests of power and profit. The methods are familiar. We have seen some of them used by ALEC and Israel. 

Friday, June 22, 2012

The Scam Wall Street Learned From the Mafia

Click here to access article by Matt Taibbi from Rolling Stone. 

I have often argued that political operatives and other key figures of the US ruling One Percent have been greatly influenced by Mafia methods. This is another excellent illustration of this observation. That the Mafia has been largely integrated into the US ruling class over many years has been clearly indicated in the book entitled The Money and the Power by S. Denton & R. Morris. Also, it is now widely known that ruling class operatives through agencies such as the CIA and the National Security Agency have employed the Mafia in activities such as assassinations and drug trafficking.

Taibbi is writing about what he regards as an interesting, important, and unreported trial:
...this just-completed trial in downtown New York against three faceless financial executives really was historic. Over 10 years in the making, the case allowed federal prosecutors to make public for the first time the astonishing inner workings of the reigning American crime syndicate, which now operates not out of Little Italy and Las Vegas, but out of Wall Street.
(Note: The article is quite long, so if you wish to get to the core of this crime, start reading the 3rd paragraph on page 2.)

Of course, such financial rackets have been going on all the time without being prosecuted. Thus, he offers an explanation for the prosecution of these financial scam artists.

He explains how arrogant some of these people are because they get away with this sort of operation all the time. 

Jamie Dimon exhibited that same characteristic when he appeared before the House and Senate committees. Most people who appear before such committees bring an army of lawyers and support staff. He confidently walked in the Senate committee room by himself, made some perfunctory mea culpas to play to the naive public, and then was met with weak questions from an intimidated Congressional committee. They ended up mostly asking his advice about curbing reckless, economy destroying bets by banking firms--and Dimon is the CEO of a bank who had just been discovered engaging in this type of financial gambling. Clearly directors of this Congressional play saw that the Senate performance was too ingratiating, thus they directed the House committee members to appear more aggressive in the questioning.

Beware the new language of privatisation: state activity farmed out to profit making firms

Click here to access article by Stuart Weir from Open Democracy (UK). 
As the government and business combine to expand the modern-day enclosure of the public sphere and state services by the private sector, the official talk is now of “outsourcing”, and of “partnerships” or “mutuals”, as private incursions into the police provoke political criticism and fears that private companies would be taking over frontline policing duties. Beware the new language of privatisation.

NSA won't say how many Americans they've spied on; cite "privacy" concerns

Click here to access article from Russia Today.
Want to know if the US government has gone through your emails and listened in on your phone calls? The National Security Agency says they can’t consider such a request, and the reasoning is laughable — even by Washington standards.

Media Under Assault in America

Click here to access article by  Wayne Madsen from Strategic Culture Foundation.

Although not news to most wide-awake people, the author provides evidence to support this argument:
The Fourth Estate has never been under as much pressure in the United States as it has been under the Obama administration. 
Of course, Obama has nothing or little to do with it. He is merely the chief public relations officer hired by key decision makers of the One Percent--people like Jamie Dimon. 

Yes, there are factions within the One Percent--basically two: liberals and conservatives. The former want to slowly turn up the heat on the 99 Percent so that they won't realize that they have been scalded to death (the old boiling frog routine), the latter want to throw the 99 Percent right into the boiling water.

Egyptians pack Tahrir to slam military 'coup'

Click here to access 1:58m video and article from Al Jazeera. 
Cairo's iconic square is again seething with anger as the nation nervously awaited the results of the presidential poll.

Thursday, June 21, 2012

NATO’s Nazi Beginnings: How the West implemented Hitler’s goals

Click here to access article by Robert S. Rodvik from Voltaire Network. 

Western capitalist elites harbored bitter resentment against the Soviet Union which had a system that did not permit private ownership of the economy. In 1918 immediately after the Soviet Union's revolution capitalist ruling circles sent numerous forces into that war ravaged country to restore capitalism, but were unsuccessful and eventually gave up.

With the rise of the Nazis in Germany in 1933, capitalist elites began to view them as another
way to accomplish this. As the author has shown, many capitalists in other countries aided and abetted Germany's ascendency. The temporary "unholy alliance" resulted from the deranged thinking of Hitler and his cronies who were probably drunk on power resulting from their initial easy victories in Europe. I am referring to Hitler's crazy idea of attacking England. If he hadn't been so stupid, who knows what course history might have taken. Although the author's documented resources differ a bit from mine, his analysis of this period is in complete conformity with my understanding. 

I see parallels today between some neo-liberal policies and the Nazi concept of "untermenschen" which informed the latter's horrendous racist policies toward various ethnic groups--gypsies, Slavs, and Jews. Today I see evidence everywhere that they are pursuing basically the same genocidal policies--although in most cases much more subtle and sophisticated--toward migrants, indigenous people whose resources they covet, and all those whose labor they have no use for: the handicapped, uneducated and unskilled, the elderly, etc. The mad drive to slash safety nets for large segments of the 99 Percent within their own nations together with their other neo-liberal policies suggests a similar attitude toward all people who they regard as dispensable in their new world order: their new "untermenschen".

Bank Yankers - Jamie Dimon on Capitol Hill

Click here to access source of this 3:59m video from the Jon Stewart show. 

What most Americans don't understand is that people like Jamie Dimon rule the US, not those employees of the Jamie Dimons that sit in Congress and the White House.

Game Over For The Climate?

Click here to access article from Media Lens.
Whatever happened to the green movement? It’s been 50 years since the publication of Rachel Carson’s classic Silent Spring, a powerful book about the environmental devastation wreaked by chemical pesticides. Since then we’ve had the rise and fall - or at least the compromised assimilation - of green groups such as Friends of the Earth, Greenpeace and Forum For the Future.

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Mass protests in Egypt against military rule

Click here to access article by Peter Symonds from World Socialist Web Site.

Most mainstream news reports concentrate on Mubarak's health and pair this with the large crowds in Tahrir Square apparently to suggest that the two events are related. This treatment, of course, detracts from the reality of what is happening in Egypt. 

In my estimation this source provides the most accurate assessment about what is actually happening there.
An estimated 50,000 people took part in protests in Cairo’s Tahrir Square yesterday against last Thursday’s coup and the establishment of a military dictatorship by Egypt’s Supreme Council of the Armed Forces (SCAF). Another sizable demonstration took place in the port city of Alexandria.

Democracy and Universal Values Or, Something Like That

Click here to access article from Bear Canada (China).

I have just discovered this article and website. While perusing the website, I found a number of interesting articles many of which are re-framing world issues from a Chinese point of view and often done so in a very amusing way. Frequently I found myself bursting out in laughter. Although I could find no "About" section to indicate where it is based, there is much evidence that the website is based in Shanghai, China. Possibly it is a website of someone from China who is presently located abroad.

As I mentioned, there are so many interesting and amusing articles here, but I will am posting this one because it was the first I discovered. It represents an effort to deconstruct American exceptionalism. There are many other similar articles on this site, and many which present an interesting Chinese point of view on world issues. One can learn much from foreign views that rarely, if ever, make it into US media.

How to Complete Egypt's Revolution

Click here to access article by Shamus Cooke from Workers Action.

The contribution that this author makes is not a "how to" manual for Egyptian activists--that would be absurd--but his argument that the "opposition" winner (this is in dispute) in the contrived Egyptian electoral process, the Muslim Brotherhood, is in collusion with the military elite who are owners of Egyptian economic enterprises. What has happened in Egypt is basically the same fascist phenomenon that is occurring everywhere in advanced countries--the melding of economic and military/police power. It is only slightly different in that economic ownership in Egypt has directly developed within the military establishment.

He also argues that the Muslim Brotherhood only wants to become a part of the ruling class to share in the spoils of rule. That is precisely why they were allowed to participate in the phony electoral process.

UK police say WikiLeaks founder faces arrest

Click here to access article from Al Jazeera. 

The US Empire is closing in on Assange who has leaked important documents that have demonstrated that US political operatives have been guilty of war crimes and subversive operation against independent countries.
Ecuador said Assange had accused his native Australia of abandoning him and expressed fears that if sent to Sweden, he would be extradited onwards to the US where he believes he could face criminal charges punishable by death.

Assange's website, WikiLeaks, angered the US administration in 2010 by publishing secret US diplomatic cables.
"I genuinely believe, and I know him well, that he fears for his life," said Vaughan Smith.... 

At the crossroads between green economy and rights of nature

Click here to access article by Pablo Solón from the report “Rights of Nature: Planting the Seeds of Real Change” published by Global Exchange (June, 2012) via Climate Connections. 
The capitalist system has gone beyond control. Like a virus it’s going to kill the body that feeds it… it’s going to damage the Earth System, making life impossible for humans as we know it. We need to overthrow capitalism and develop a system that is based on the Community of the Earth.

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Media Lies, Corporate Ties, and Truth Dies? … Don’t Count on It!

Click here to access article by Andrew Gavin Marshall from his blog. 
Our media is a melting-pot of misinformation, bought and owned by billionaires and oligarchs, whether it is public, private, or foundation-funded. Information is integral, propaganda is power, and media is money. Control of the media leads directly to control of the minds of those who consume it, and like all patterns of consumption, it is sustained by profit, but its purpose is much deeper, more pervasive and permanent: social control.
God, I needed this after viewing some of the worst TV ever over breakfast. The "news" coverage seemed worse than ever before: filled with sex scandals, the new Microsoft electronic gadget that everyone in the media is going gaga over, and more gun violence in Seattle. It's the same coverage across all the stations. It is as if there were a ministry of propaganda somewhere that was feeding news items to all TV stations. I wanted to scream! Then I read this article and my sanity was restored.

We simply must find a way to support alternative journalists like the Canadian Andrew Gavin Marshall.

Egypt: From 'Election first' to 'SCAF first'

Click here to access article by Larbi Sadiki from Al Jazeera. 
The military's latest decree will either crush dissent - or empower activists to retake the streets.
Update at 6:40pm Seattle time: I cannot locate any live cam shots from Tahrir Square in Cairo. Check this site out from Democratic Underground website for some information. As someone said, apparently the counter-revolution will not be televised. 

See also this 3:21m video and report from RT reported at 2:50:00 PM Pacific Daylight Time. 

See also this 2:28m video and report from Al Jazeera.

S.H.A.M.E. Releases Profile on Jeffrey Goldberg: Prison Camp Guard, War Booster & Israeli Apartheid Apologist

Click here to access article by Mark Ames & Yasha Levine from The Exiled. 

This prominent journalist who writes, and has written, for highly influential US ruling class publications is outed by writers for The Exiled as a hard core Zionist. This piece serves as background and an introduction to the main exposé.
...Jeffrey Goldberg is a propagandist of the worst, most disastrous kind. For the past ten years-plus, he has peddled blatantly false war propaganda, fronted for the military-industrial machine and played a key PR role in drumming up unfounded terrorist fears in order to push America into war with Iraq. Instead of being held accountable for his failures and his lies, he’s seen nothing but soaring praise and personal profits.

Hitler’s Youth-Israel’s Youth: And the Difference?

Click here to access article by Sibel Edmonds from Boiling Frogs. 

This brave former FBI translator finds an interesting piece in an Israeli online website entitled, "Tourists venture to West Bank to 'shoot terrorists', and sees parallels with the Hitler Jugend. She reprints the article with the addition of a Hitler Jugend photo, and lets the reader draw their own conclusions.
This morning I came across the article below. It made me sick- as a human, as a mother of a four-year old … I felt nauseated; disgusted. I can go on and list even more adjectives, but I’ll let you read the article and come up with your own adjectives-many of which I am sure would match my own....

Values versus prices at the Rio+20 Earth Summit

Click here to access article by Patrick Bond from Climate Connections. 

The author strikes at the heart of capitalist logic and world view by deconstructing their conceptualization of nature as capital. He argues that...
by relegating our environment to mere natural capital, the next step is to convert value into price and then sell chunks of nature on the market. All manner of financialisation strategies have emerged to securitise ‘environmental services’, most obviously in carbon markets which continue failing miserably to deliver investor funds to slow climate change.
The author warns on the eve of the June 20-22 of a key United Nations Summit due to take place in Rio De Janeiro that efforts to promote green capitalism will be advanced once again; and that, if not stopped, will result in attacks on the defenseless poor, their access to water, evictions from their lands, deforestation, and destruction of habitat. 

New report to expose how corporations ‘capture’ the U.N.

Click here to access article from Friends of the Earth International via Climate Connections.

Just as the banking and industrial corporate sectors have captured governments all over the world, they are also focusing on the control of the UN.
“Governmental positions have been increasingly hijacked by narrow corporate interests linked to polluting industries and business sectors seeking to profit from the environment, the climate and the financial crises,” said Nnimmo Bassey, chair of Friends of the Earth International.
There is a link to the 32 page PDF report in the article.

Monday, June 18, 2012

Social Security Money Is Not Like T-bills

Click here to access article by Allen W. Smith from Dissident Voice. 

Probably because I am dependent on it, I have been roughly following Social Security issues for a number of years. If I were more naive, I would think that no one else really understands Social Security except for this author. Everyone else takes this program as advertised: as a conventional "trust fund". The Wikipedia entry defines this as follows:
In common law legal systems, a trust is a relationship whereby property (real or personal, tangible or intangible) is held by one party for the benefit of another. ...The trustee owes a fiduciary duty to the beneficiaries, who are the "beneficial" owners of the trust property.
Thus every author I've ever read, except Allen Smith, writes about Social Security as being a typical trust fund. But like everything else in the capitalist political facade, it is a fake trust fund. That is, it is made to look like a conventional trust fund, but it isn't really. It is just like the widely ballyhooed "democracy" we enjoy by participating in carefully managed elections. Can it be that no one else in academia really understand this? I doubt it. It is more likely that they dare not reveal the hoax for what it is because the One Percent's enforcers would make life difficult for them. Allen Smith apparently is courageous and, as a retired professor, he is fairly well insulated from repercussions. 

The ruling One Percent has been happy to use this money from working people to pay for all their foreign adventures until in recent decades when they could see that a trend was appearing on the horizon: the payouts would soon be catching up with the payments received. It was then that they started thinking about other arrangements. 

Roughly we can categorize these arrangements as liberal and conservative pushed by their two parties labeled Democratic and Republican. Their different strategies are illustrative of the style differences of these two parties--aggressive versus slow, but both for the same end.

The Republicans want to slash it's benefits drastically and privatize it so that they can invest the money through Wall Street. Whereas the Democrats want to slowly strangle it by raising the age when one can receive benefits, fixing the formula that calculates benefits to reduce them, and the most brilliant idea of all, cut Social Security payroll taxes so that the so-called fund is depleted which will justify slashing benefits or killing the program altogether. The fact that worker's payments are called "taxes" and not "premiums" is revealing of what the program really is: just another tax on working people to be used for whatever purpose the One Percent's political operatives desire which, of course, has been mostly invading other countries and killing its citizens to secure profits for US corporations and extend the Empire.

The Sustainability Movement: Crossing the Liberal/Conservative Divide

Click here to access article by Stuart Jeanne Bramhall from Dissident Voice. 

This former Seattle psychiatrist, who was forced to flee to New Zealand after ongoing FBI harassment, offers a good description of how political terms have become essentially meaningless in the US. This is not because mainstream media bosses and other political operatives are stupid, it is because they are smart. This confusion of terms and redefinitions have occurred simply because they want to confuse citizens so much that they will never be able figure out how the political system really works on behalf of the One Percent. It's just another, but necessary, part of their program to keep citizens so dumbed down that they will passively go along with whatever the political operatives of the One Percent decide.

However, this writer is very naive if she thinks that her excellent recommendations for a sustainable society could ever be accomplished under a capitalist system. They are totally incompatible with it.

Egyptian presidential elections marked by mass abstention and fraud

Click here to access article by Johannes Stern from World Socialist Web Site. 

This weekend's runoff election managed by the US backed military junta (SCAF) in Egypt was characterized by allegations of fraud and low voter turnout.
In the run-offs over the weekend, Ahmed Shafiq, the last prime minister under ousted dictator Hosni Mubarak faced Mohamed Mursi, the candidate of the Islamist Muslim Brotherhood (MB). Both Shafiq and Mursi are right-wing representatives of the Egyptian ruling class, hostile to the social and democratic aspirations of the Egyptian revolution and widely discredited amongst the Egyptian masses. 
I don't agree with the author's statement that "These events exposed the 'democratic transition' organized by the junta since the beginning of the Egyptian Revolution as a political fraud." This grossly exaggerates political operative's ability to instigate virulent mass upheavals even if they wanted to, which they don't because of unpredictable outcomes. The Egyptian junta in collaboration with Empire operatives have so far been able to contain this popular opposition by channeling the anger through carefully managed elections. See this explanation for what happened in Egypt and nearby countries that were infected by the Arab Spring virus. For Empire operatives the promotion of carefully managed elections has proven time and again to be effective in containing dissent whether in Egypt or Wisconsin.

Syria Is No Longer in Syrian Hands

Click here to access article by Nicolas Nassif from Al Akhbar. 

This report offers what I believe to be a very accurate assessment of what the Syrian situation is evolving into: an inter-capitalist rivalry and social disintegration. The former has been well described up till now, but the latter resembles too much like the results of the Salvador option. Could the latter be the handiwork of Israeli and US political operatives? I would not be surprised if future reports provides evidence of this type of operation, the results of which we are seeing as an ongoing tragedy in nearby Iraq.

Sunday, June 17, 2012

How Texas Inflicts Bad Textbooks on Us

Click here to access article by Gail Collins from The New York Review of Books. 
No matter where you live, if your children go to public schools, the textbooks they use were very possibly written under Texas influence. If they graduated with a reflexive suspicion of the concept of separation of church and state and an unexpected interest in the contributions of the National Rifle Association to American history, you know who to blame.
The author provides some information on one method used by the One Percent to dumb down public school education that children of the 99 Percent receive. Ideas and knowledge can be very powerful; thus the political operatives of the One Percent work hard to make sure that they control this "education" to serve their interests which broadly speaking is a public that is incapable of critical thinking.

Textbooks in US public schools are being screened by some of the most reactionary elements of the One Percent ruling class such as these three Texas State Board of Education members Cynthia Dunbar, Barbara Cargill, and Gail Lowe discussing curriculum standards, Austin, May 2008....

See also this and this.