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

Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Washington plays Russian roulette with missile defense

Click here to access article by William Engdahl from RT

This geopolitical analyst extraordinaire exposes the lies of nuclear defense to Western audiences inundated by the lies manufactured by corporate propaganda machinery. 

What remains unspoken, however, is the bigger lie that capitalist regimes can ever have relationships of peaceful coexistence with each other. This class of people whose ancestors invented the system of ownership over wealth producing enterprises are now addicts to the wealth and power with which their system provides exclusively for them. The addictive obsession to acquire more of wealth and power requires that you compete with others who have the same motivation or who present obstacles to your pursuit of both.

With the technical ability to destroy one's competitors--in this case entire nations--seemly without suffering retaliation is now a reality that lies under the control of the Empire's sociopathic leaders. Once again, we see the specter of a nuclear Armageddon haunting our very existence. 

The pseudo-legal arguments for a police state

Click here to access article by Tom Carter from World Socialist Web Site.
Responding to United States District Court judge Richard Leon’s decision earlier this month calling NSA surveillance “almost Orwellian,” Judge Pauley employs the argument that every dictatorship throughout history has made in one form or another: that “national security” and the threat of “terrorism” necessitate the abrogation of democratic rights.

Zapatismo and the Latin American cycle of struggles

Click here to access article by Raúl Zibechi from Reflections on a Revolution.

This militant journalist and writer from Uruguay provides us with a survey of grass-roots organizations in Latin America and points to some interesting commonalities among them.

Argentina Heat Wave Stirs Pot of Political Unrest in Buenos Aires

Click here to access article from Revolution News.

Are we seeing our future in the current heat crisis in Argentina?

The lights are out in Buenos Aires. Citizens of at least 11 districts in the capital city of Argentina have been without power for 2+ weeks. Water supplies run on electrical pumps so many are also without water. Early reports said at least 374,000 families have been affected by the blackouts according to Infomedia Argentina.

A scorching heatwave hit the country 2 weeks ago with temps over 100 F / 40 C. The increase in demand caused massive failure of the power grid and no one is sure when or how it can be fixed. Mauricio Macri, mayor of Buenos Aires has declared a state of emergency. 

Monday, December 30, 2013

Is the New York Fed Too Deeply Conflicted to Regulate Wall Street?

Click here to access article by Pam Martens from Wall Street on Parade.

Although naive liberals like this author fail to understand the class nature of our government, they perform a valuable role in our understanding of how government functions because of their knowledge gained from actually working in key institutions and/or their academic study of these institutions.  

New York bankers have historically have played key roles in our ruling class and its government. The roots are seen in the histories of key banking families: the Rockefellers, Morgans, and Warburgs who were related to the Rothchilds international banking family. (See also this and this.)

US judge rules NSA phone surveillance program is legal

Click here to access article from RT.

Recent court rulings related to lawsuits against the NSA for spying waged by citizens and citizen advocates. Only a few weeks ago a District Court judge ruled in favor of citizens in a lawsuit filed by a conservative legal activist, today we learn that another District Court judge ruled in favor of the NSA's right to spy on Americans in a lawsuit filed by the liberal American Civil Liberties Union. Who do you think will eventually win on this vital Constitutional issue? If you understand how the One Percent's government works to serve their needs, then you will easily arrive at the correct answer--the NSA and all other government/private contractor spying programs. 

The issue really goes back to the original meeting held behind closed doors by key figures of the emerging property class in the US following their successful War of Independence from Great Britain. They came up with a new set of rules known as the US Constitution to replace the rules known as the Articles of Confederation to consolidate their power in a much more centralized government. Then they needed to have this version passed by two thirds of the thirteen states.

Having been indoctrinated by the One Percent's schools, most people do not understand how the Amendments to the Constitution, known as the Bill of Rights came about. The newly formed capitalist class needed to add "a spoonful of sugar" in order to get their property oriented constitution ratified by the states. Thus, the Bill of Rights was tacked on the original Constitution because of widespread opposition by ordinary people in the original 13 semi-autonomous states of the United States. The ruling class's promotion of this new Constitution was essentially a coup engineered behind closed doors by major property holders of the states while attending a convention that was only supposed to be modifying the Articles of Confederation.  

They knew perfectly well that under their new Constitution that they could control a powerful centralized government from any democratic inference from below, and therefore they need not worry about the Amendments. To illustrate how seriously these people, reverently referred to as our "Founding Fathers", took these Amendments, bear in mind that only nine years after the Constitution went into effect they passed the Sedition Act which made it a crime...
To write, print, utter or publish, or cause it to be done, or assist in it, any false, scandalous, and malicious writing against the government of the United States, or either House of Congress, or the President, with intent to defame, or bring either into contempt or disrepute, or to excite against either the hatred of the people of the United States, or to stir up sedition, or to excite unlawful combinations against the government, or to resist it....
Our ruling class has never hesitated to pass such legislation whenever it suited them as we've seen with the Espionage Act of 1917 and the imprisonment of citizens of Japanese ancestry during WWII as the most egregious examples. So, you see that these Amendments which supposedly secured liberties for citizens was never taken seriously by this new ruling class. 

Now we are witnessing a very paranoid ruling class who insist on full spectrum surveillance over all citizen activities including journalists and their courts will, without doubt, find that these practices are permitted under the US Constitution.

Inside TAO: Documents Reveal Top NSA Hacking Unit

Click here to access article from the staff at Der Spiegel (Germany).
It was thanks to the garage door opener episode that Texans learned just how far the NSA's work had encroached upon their daily lives.

Sunday, December 29, 2013

Smoke ‘em if ya got ‘em.

Click here to access article by xraymike79 from Collapse of Industrial Civilization. 

If you are able to look at humanity's future trajectory squarely in the face, then you must follow this blog which captures it with artistic flair. Although I'm still not satisfied with its emphasis on the correlation between this trajectory and "industrial civilization", the blog continues to introduce in one way or another the role of capitalism in determining the trajectory. 

The system of capitalism, which was constructed by a class of people whose rule is based on the exploitation of their fellow men and nature, is now confronting the natural limits of the biosphere. We humans have a choice. We either affirm life by overthrowing the system and the One Percent who profit from it, or we just continue "to go along to get along" and keep our eyes averted from the inevitable: a harrowing dystopia and extinction. 

A manifesto for independent media

Click here to access article by Jerome Roos from Reflections on a Revolution.

The author from this revolutionary collective sees the crucial necessity for an independent media if there is to be any hope of escaping the rapidly developing dystopia of capitalism. Any victories we achieve can only come about by breaking the corporate media and conventional academic lenses that prevent us from seeing our way out of this dark cave of despair and doom.
...if we don’t find ways to connect our various national struggles by articulating a global critique of the capitalist world-system and a radical vision of a post-capitalist society, we will be forever doomed to repeat the mistakes of the past.
He insists that the tools and the material are available for us to construct an alternative to the mind numbing and distorting views of capitalist disinformation. It is time for the construction to begin. 
Only by collectively constructing our own autonomous nodes and networks of communication, only by generating our own participatory platforms to mediate other ways of seeing things, other ways of engaging with the world around us, can we liberate ourselves from the mental incarceration forced upon us by those in power.

Saturday, December 28, 2013

Fed Up with the Fed

Click here to access article by Carol Harvey from IndyBay San Francisco (California).
After sunset at 5:00 p.m., on Monday, December 23, 2013, FedUp100.org, a national coalition of activists spanning a wide political spectrum called to action several 100th anniversary illuminated Birthday Un-Celebrations in front of eight Federal Reserve buildings in New York City, Philadelphia, Washington, D.C, Orlando, Dallas, Cleveland, and Chicago.
.... In San Francisco, 101 Market Street protestors chalked a beautiful sidewalk Monopoly board with rules to show how this rigged game is played. The debt will never be paid because the Banksters make money off it.
The Fed was created shortly before Christmas in 1913 when the banksters in our ruling One Percent slipped through Congress a bill that enabled one of their biggest scams of all time at the expense of American workers.
On December 22, 1913, after most of Congress left for Christmas, the remaining members passed The Federal Reserve Act. President Wilson's signature established the Federal Reserve System, legally empowering The Fed to issue Bank Notes --- or dollars --- as legal tender. The Federal Reserve Act of 1913 also gave The Fed the exclusive right to loan money to Congress. 
 

A Master Class On How The Banks Took Over “Our” World

Click here to access an introduction to two six plus minute videos posted by Don Quijones on his blog Raging Bull-Shit.

What is particularly unique about these short lectures on money creation by bankster scams is that they were delivered (last year) by a 12 year old Canadian girl.

Of course, if you have followed my blog for any length of time, you would know that I don't see private bank created money as the major source of most of the obvious problems we see in the world today. I see it only as another very significant illicit means of making money within a system (capitalism) which promotes the accumulation of wealth in ever greater concentrations by people who, according the rules of this system, are "owners" of economies. It is this private "ownership" of an intrinsically social creation that is the major crime perpetrated against the vast majority by a small minority. Still, these bankster money scams are of great importance because of the added misery they cause.

Brainwashed by the cult of the super-rich

Click here to access article by Priyamvada Gopal from the Guardian.

This author offers a British take on the "Greed is Good" cult and their right-wing followers.
The rich are not merely different: they've become a cult which drafts us as members. We are invited to deceive ourselves into believing we are playing for the same stakes while worshipping the same ideals, a process labelled "aspiration". 

Christmas, Right-Wingers, The Red Pope, and Jesus

Click here to access article by Jim Hightower from Nation of Change.

This piece offers some welcome humor from that liberal Texan who loves to poke fun at our right-wing neighbors who seem to get high on Fox TV, left-wing conspiracies, End Time scenarios, and mindless entertainment.
Ah, 'tis the season for family, friends, eggnog, chipmunks singing Christmas carols — and all-out, no-mercy, blow-'em-all-to-hell WAR.

Not war like in Afghanistan. No, no — this is the far-right's God-awful "War on the War on Christmas."

Friday, December 27, 2013

Real Progressive Economic Change

Click here if you wish to access the source posting of this 10:22m video from Richard Wolff's website.

I don't know of anyone that can explain radical politics clearer than Prof. Wolff. The divide between reformers (liberals) and revolutionaries has always posed problems for activists throughout the past several centuries. He offers a very simple solution on how to combine both.
Professor Wolff joins David Pakman, host of The Pakman Show,  to discuss potential strategies to bring progressive economic change, including incremental vs systemic approaches, as well as economic rights, unionism, and small producerism.

Creeping annexation, ethnic cleansing and ‘the politics of fragmentation’ inflicted by criminals who strut the world stage and thumb their noses at international law

Click here to access article, posted on Fig Trees and Vineyards, which features an interview with international law authority Richard Falk. (Note: this article is prefaced by a report entitled "Temper Tantrums in US, Canada over Falk Comments to RT", which is interesting in itself, but far more interesting is the interview which follows.)

The implications of Falk's observations about the UN with regard to the Palestinian people illustrates the sad fact that world's capitalist ruling classes, for all their pretenses about the rule of law, still rule according to the principle that "might makes right". Therefore, there will be no advances in human welfare, and indeed, the very existence of the human race is now at stake if the tiny population of "owners" and their system of capitalism, or any other class system, is allowed to continue.
The bottom line is that we live in a world in which the primacy of hard power prevails in the relationship among states.
 Of course, we should add the obvious: "hard power within states as well, in addition to the pervasive use of soft power in the form of ruling class indoctrination".

Taxpayer money spent to develop GM blight-resistant potato using genes from non-GM naturally blight-resistant potato

Click here to access article by Barbara H. Peterson from Farm Wars.

The science of biotechnology has opened wide the gate of opportunity for more profit-addicted capitalists. Here their legal subsystem has legitimated their "ownership" of seeds where they have tinkered with the DNA of seeds. This article shows how extreme the effects of the addiction to profits is to our masters in the One Percent.

The Rise of Superweeds—and What to Do About It

Click here to access article from Union of Concerned Scientists.

It sounds like a sci-fi movie: American farmers fighting desperately to hold back an onslaught of herbicide-defying "superweeds."

But there's nothing imaginary—or entertaining—about this scenario. Superweeds are all too real, and they have now spread to over 60 million acres of our farmland, wreaking environmental and economic havoc wherever they go.

How did we get into this mess, and how do we fix it?


For another threat posed by corporate agriculture and their mad pursuit of profits, see also this piece from the NY Times entitled " European Agency Warns of Risk to Humans in Pesticides Tied to Bee Deaths".

Thursday, December 26, 2013

Getting Ahead: A Memoir on the Complexities of Class in the U.S.

Click here to access article by William T. Hathaway from The Hampton Institute. 

This autobiographical sketch captures all the essential class-based qualities and values both contemporary and historical of American life, and explains how the fast fading "American Dream is built on the American Nightmare." Absolutely brilliant--a must read!

Everyday communism and the “spirit of Christmas”

Click here to access article by Jerome Roos from Reflections on a Revolution
In the Western world, at least, Christmas is a profoundly schizophrenic time of year. On the one hand, the holidays bring out some of the best aspects of what it means to be human: people coming together to share food and gifts in a communal spirit that temporarily breaks with the alienation of everyday life. But, at the same time, the holidays shine a light on some of the worst elements of consumerism and false pretense that have come to pervade the social fabric....
After moving to Athens the author reports on "everyday communism" and how it has helped the Greeks to survive the devastating attacks on their economy by international banksters. This phenomenon is in direct contradiction to what the ideology of capitalism regards as human nature.

Edward Snowden: Power, Privacy And The Public Good

Click here to access article by Colin Todhunter from his blog East by Northwest. 

Here in the US on their mega-channels of corporate TV our masters allowed us to watch a highly abbreviated version (about 5 seconds) of Snowden's address broadcast over British TV in which any mention of George Orwell was censored. Well, I'm sure they were only looking out for our peace of mind and welfare. (sarcasm)

Vimeo has provided us with Snowden's complete alternative Christmas message here.

Wednesday, December 25, 2013

Now, it's Snowden: the book and, maybe, the film

Click here to access article from China.org.cn.

We learn from this article, as well as from other reports, that three major media figures are vying to cash in on Snowden's revelations about widespread NSA spying. These journalists have been well connected to major media outlets: the liberal Guardian and the Empire's Washington Post (a history of collaboration with the CIA and now this). Meanwhile, US government authorities have no problem with their promised releases of more NSA documents. This, of course, raises a lot of questions about what really is going on.

The first to raise questions was a former whistleblower Sibel Edmonds who in this one hour video discusses many of these questions with internet colleagues James Corbett and Guillermo Jimenez. Maybe I missed some commentators, but I have only found one other person on the web who has raised serious questions about these commercial ventures of Greenwald, Harding, and Gellman with whom Snowden left so much of the NSA evidence. (See this piece entitled "Cowards Profit by Snowden's Risk Like Manning's" posted on Cryptome.

Some of the questions that I have are the following: can we rely on these three well-connected entrepreneurs to release any revealing and damaging NSA documents? Or are they going to engage in damage control on behalf of the Empire while profiting from the scandal? Was Snowden a bit naive to trust these people? It's hard to question Snowden's motives because his revelations have, indeed, damaged US relations with many governments while putting himself in grave danger. It's my guess that he is keeping quiet about this strange turn of events in order to ameliorate his own tenuous situation.

Jesus Rebranded

Click here to access introduction and 1:41m video by Mark Fiore from his website.
Between the "War on Christmas" and the accusations that Pope Francis is a Marxist, some people can't seem to make up their mind.  Who better to wage a war on Christmas than the people who want the Pope to be more of a capitalist! 

Workers and their unions must fight climate change

Click here to access article by Gary Engler from New Commune-ist Manifesto (Canada).

While this writer recognizes the most basic of all problems that workers must fight for, he seems to leave us thinking that unions can do this within the system of capitalism. Only by scanning other sections of this website can I glean the idea that the system itself must be destroyed and replaced with one that is sustainable and serves human needs.
...when we come together in a union we acknowledge certain basic social priorities. Thus the first unions fought for a living wage, the eight-hour day, public schools, pensions etc., not simply more money. Without the basics of life, being able to buy more things is meaningless.

And that’s how we need to think about our environment and especially global warming.  

What do you wanna be when/if you grow up?

Click here to access article by Mickey Z. from World News Trust.
As the rain forests vanish, oceans acidify, temperatures rise, and extinctions accelerate, we adults should stop asking young children about their future and instead start fighting to insure they have one.  

Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Walking in an Anthropocene Wonderland

Click here to access article by Phil Rockstroh from Dissident Voice

This artisan of written language provides us with an excellent description of where we stand in our "Anthropocene Wonderland". It is a very mixed message of gloom and hope.

Gloom:
...what kind of suicidal clowns flounce through life gibbering on about bacon straws, cupcakes, online images of kitty cats, and the latest Playstation model when the specter of extinction looms and their psychotic leaders are doubling down on the criteria of doom?
....  Bafflingly, despite the vast carnage inflicted and multiple promises betrayed, why does the storyline of the capitalist/consumer state still resonant with so many? 
Hope:
Stoned-faced phalanxes of soldiers and bristling clutches of militarized cops stand guard before the entrances of shoddy, swaying towers. But lies cannot be built to last. The lipless grins of a billion skulls mock the illusory staying power of deceit, while the perennial yearnings of the heart and its perpetual coupling with the eternal present endure. Love songs ring out among the rot of empires.

Reigniting the debate: Climate change is fundamentally a human story

Click here to access article by Kieran Cooke from Climate Code Red

It seems that most people simply refuse to engage in conversation about the threats posed by climate change. The article takes off from the experience reported by one communication specialist who has long tried to engage people.
I’m always casual about it – after all, no one wants to find themselves sitting next to a zealot on a long-distance train journey. But I need not worry because, however I say it, the result is almost always the same: the words collapse, sink and die in mid-air and the conversation suddenly changes course…it’s like an invisible force field that you only discover when you barge right into it. Few people ever do, because, without having ever been told, they have somehow learned that this topic is out of bounds.
Wow! Can I ever relate to this article! Much of my life has devoted to questioning the socioeconomic system of capitalism and the coming environmental crises both of which I am convinced are directly related. Over the years I've tried to engage many people--including friends and relatives--in conversation about these subjects and I've almost always encountered a wall of resistance. Because of these experiences I've become fascinated about the way a ruling class--this ruling capitalist class in particular--is able to manage the minds of its subjects.

Delving further into this phenomenon has led me to understand the incredible power that today's thought managers of the capitalist class have over what ordinary people talk about to each other, and even think about; and has led me to understand their overwhelming control of all institutions in society. With the rewards of access to good paying jobs, to media exposure, to funding of cultural and scientific projects, and their use of foundation money to influence information and opinions (see this), they exercise profound influence throughout society--more now than ever before. 

With such power, and the confidence that is generated by such power, it is no wonder that the ruling capitalist class has aggressively gone on the offensive to enact measures that are totally self-serving and attacking all social programs in spite of having just tanked the economic well-being of many ordinary people in the Western countries. And now we face the worst future of all: catastrophic climate events. How different our current period is from the 1930s after the ruling class destroyed the economy in the Crash of 1929!  Then, they were very much on the defensive.

A Little Dash Of Christmas Humour

I've borrowed the following humorous post from Raging Bull-Shit:

Monday, December 23, 2013

FED up? Hundred years of manipulating the US dollar

Click here to access article by Adrian Salbuchi from RT.

This piece has one of the best succinct explanations regarding the Fed that I have seen on the web. Could this be because the writer is a foreigner? 
Monday 23 December marks the 100th Anniversary of the creation of the Federal Reserve System - the Central Bank of the United States of America.

The mainstream media are keeping remarkably quiet about this key milestone.
[my emphasis]

PBS Drops a Bombshell on the Federal Reserve’s 100th Birthday Party

Click here to access article by Pam Martens from Wall Street on Parade.

The word "bombshell" in the title might be a bit too dramatic, but nevertheless the two financial experts (see bio on James Grant) on this PBS program made reference to a few lesser known actual policies of the officially authorized issuer of our money: the consortium of private bankers known as the Federal Reserve or the Fed. It seems that the old and tired trickle down philosophy is still guiding their functions. Well, after all, it seems to be working very well for them, but creating misery for the rest of us.

Not Just the Koch Brothers: New Drexel Study Reveals Funders Behind the Climate Change Denial Effort

Click here to access article by Alex McKechnie from Drexel University (Philadelphia, Pennsylvania). 
If you want to understand what’s driving this movement, you have to look at what’s going on behind the scenes.

To uncover how the countermovement was built and maintained, Brulle developed a listing of 118 important climate denial organizations in the U.S. He then coded data on philanthropic funding for each organization, combining information from the Foundation Center with financial data submitted by organizations to the Internal Revenue Service.

The final sample for analysis consisted of 140 foundations making 5,299 grants totaling $558 million to 91 organizations from 2003 to 2010. The data shows that these 91 organizations have an annual income of just over $900 million, with an annual average of $64 million in identifiable foundation support. Since the majority of the organizations are multiple focus organizations, not all of this income was devoted to climate change activities, Brulle notes.
While the researchers focus only on efforts to conceal the sources of funding regarding the denial of climate change, what I think is even of greater significance is a broader examination of the methods that major capitalists and their corporations use to influence important policies throughout society: the impacts of these foundations on the disseminators of information and shapers of opinion in the institutions of education and media. This wider view reveals one of the secrets behind the rule of the private "owners" of our economy, which the system of capitalism has made possible, and puts the lie to all their pretenses about democratic rule. (The other major secret is their funding of our representatives at all levels of government.) This view reveals the naked truth about what left critics refer to as bourgeois democracy or capitalist democracy. It is a totally fake version of democracy. 

Concessions disguised as compromise

Click here to access article by Nicole Colson from SocialistWorker
Once again, to get a budget deal, the Democrats accepted deeply unpopular cuts--despite the polls showing that Americans would rather prioritize spending on social services and unemployment than on deficit reduction, and that a solid majority favors increasing taxes on the wealthy. Instead of push for these popular ideas, however, Democrats agreed to a budget that is much closer to what Paul Ryan wanted all along.

Sunday, December 22, 2013

CIA’s Trojan Horse enters the Heart of India

Click here to access article by Shelley Kasli from Great Game India (India).
The CIA uses philanthropic foundations as the most effective conduit to channel large sums of money to Agency projects without alerting the recipients to their source. From the early 1950s to the present the CIA’s intrusion into the foundation field was and is huge. .... The collaboration of respectable and prestigious foundations, according to one former CIA operative, allowed the Agency to fund “a seemingly limitless range of covert action programs affecting youth groups, labor unions, universities, publishing houses and other private institutions”.
Unlike so many social-political critics in the US, this writer is well aware of how the directors of the Empire rely heavily on insidious methods of managing the minds of populations to make the world safe for their projects of profit and power. The Empire's "security" services do their dirty work through front groups such as foundations everywhere that the Empire has penetrated--doubtless even more so within the US. This is a rather lengthy exposé of these subversive operations that are as important, if not more so, as the prolific military and police weapons they use to threaten nations and their populations.

US nuclear missiles are a force in much distress

Click here to access article by Robert Burns of the Associated Press.

US officials, corporate media pundits, and their Zionist dogs howl about Iran's nuclear power projects as if this were an imminent threat to world security. The reality seems to be quite different when you consider the reports like this, and others like this and this. Consider also the record of US non-compliance with the Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) about which arms control specialist Thomas Graham Jr. stated:
The NPT is based on a central bargain: the NPT non-nuclear-weapon states agree never to acquire nuclear weapons and the NPT nuclear-weapon states in exchange agree to share the benefits of peaceful nuclear technology and to pursue nuclear disarmament aimed at the ultimate elimination of their nuclear arsenals. To use the words of a former Indian foreign minster, the NPT was not designed to establish “nuclear apartheid,” permanently authorizing great-power status and nuclear weapons to a small group of states and assigning the rest of the world to permanent second-class status. Maintaining both ends of this central bargain is vitally important to the long-term viability of the NPT.

Saturday, December 21, 2013

Why Barrett Brown's Trial Matters

Click here to access article by Kevin M. Gallagher from Huffington Post.

I have not devoted as much time to the governments persecution of this investigative journalist as I now think is deserved. This current article only roughly summarizes the significance of his victimization by US security agencies. 

For a better, more detailed explanation I highly recommend a February 2013 article entitled "Why Is Barrett Brown Facing 100 Years in Prison?" posted on Vice which provides information about some very pernicious types of software that security agencies and their private contractors are using against any grassroots opposition, and Brown's efforts to bring that to our attention. This earlier article dramatically affirms the credibility of the conclusions drawn by Gallagher as reported in this article.
..."Brown's case is a bellwether for press freedoms in the new century, where hacks and leaks provide some of our only glimpses into the technologies and policies of an increasingly privatized national security-and-surveillance state." Indeed. So it's not surprising that the establishment seeks to imprison and silence those intent on using the advances of the information age to expose it. In effect, the FBI has outed itself as ever-so-dutiful servants of the private security companies Brown was researching.

Remaking Mexico’s oil industry on behalf of the 0.1%

Click here to access article by Gary Engler from New Commune-ist Manifesto (Canada).

While neo-capitalists are racking up one victory after another in their globalist rampage in pursuit of profits, there is one recent victory which stands out as most bitter for working people of Mexico.
...the 1938 expropriation of the world’s second largest oil industry, which was the first nationalization by a capitalist country, and the creation of government-owned Pemex are celebrated throughout Mexico and their significance in transforming the country is taught in schools. 

The Jungle: Thousands of Homeless People Live in Shantytowns at the Epicenter of High-Tech, Super-Rich Silicon Valley

Click here to access article by Evelyn Nieve from AlterNet

During the early 1980s I worked for real estate management companies participating in the subsidized housing programs of the government. At some point during this time it became startling clear to me that without subsidized housing there would be no way that many of my clients could afford housing at all. It was only a few years later in the Reagan administration that I began to see and experience the slow strangulation of this government program. 

Now, 30 years later and after an economic collapse, the US is beginning to look like a typical Latin American country with signs of extreme wealth most visible on TV and extreme poverty which is daily visible on the streets. The ruling One Percent try very hard to keep the latter hidden in out of the way places, but they are losing the battle. These developments suggest that unlike what happened in the 1930s, the fascist inclined forces of the nouveau riche are in control (see my commentary to the previous posted article below). 

This article focuses on one area in the US where the extremes are becoming quite visible, and describes the lifestyle of those living in these homeless encampments.
That people live and die on the streets of Silicon Valley is no news to the poor, of course. With more than 6,500 tech companies in all, Santa Clara County is home to the biggest stars in the tech universe, including Google, Facebook, Yahoo, eBay and Apple. But the land of high-tech milk and honey is also a prime example of the widening divide between the nation’s haves and have-nots.

Old Money Families That Have Been Richest The Longest

Click here to access article by Lisa Dingman from TheRichest.

Although on all economic and political issues the One Percent are generally united, there are divisions within this population that make invidious distinctions especially when it comes to socializing. This article describes one major division: old wealth and new wealth with emphasis on the former. 

From time to time this division also manifests itself in domestic American politics. The most dramatic example was in the reign of Franklin D. Roosevelt whose administrations prior to WWII were intent on maintaining the capitalist system that was threatened by popular reaction to the gross inequities of the depression, the growth of militant labor organizations, and the widespread appeal of socialist ideas. 

This old rich section of the ruling class were vigorously attacked by the more recent arrivals in the capitalist class who wanted all out class war and were very much attracted to the fascist ideas and policies emanating from Europe. (If this suppressed history is news to you, I recommend that you read American Swastika by Charles Higham, Facts and Fascism by George Seldes, and The Plot to Seize the White House by Jules Archer.)  FDR had to steer a very careful course between popular opposition to the rule of the rich and these fascist elements in the ruling One Percent in order to save capitalism and maintain an Anglo-American hegemony over the rest of the world. He performed brilliantly. His successful performance in achieving these two goals is precisely why he is regarded by all liberal capitalist historians as a hero.

This article safely focuses on the social aspects of this ruling class division.
Believe it or not, no matter how hard top billionaires like Carlos Slim, Warren Buffett and Bill Gates work, and no matter how much money they rake in, they will never be considered as equals by the old rich families that have been wealthy for centuries.

Friday, December 20, 2013

Glenn Greenwald & Checkbook Journalism

Click here if you wish to access the brief introduction to this one hour discussion with participants James Corbett, Sibel Edmonds, and Guillermo Jimenez from Boiling Frogs

I believe that the three dedicated alternative media people are going overboard in trying to be fair about all the inconsistencies and questionable practices that are evident in the actions of Glenn Greenwald in relation to the NSA revelations. Although I, too, have posted many articles of Greenwalds at this site, I have always had a question in the back of my mind about his ultimate commitments and values. 

This questioning stance had nothing to do with Greenwald personally, but to anyone who has come up through the ranks of liberal media and other liberal organizations. Such people have through their careers demonstrated an allegiance to the existing ruling class or otherwise they would have been weeded out long ago. Liberals in general serve the ruling class by acting as gatekeepers of information and co-opters (a word I just made up for people who engage in co-opting people to believe in the existing fundamental societal arrangements). 

They serve the ruling class by keeping people who are very critical of the existing power structure from moving to a position where they question the system of capitalism which provides the ruling One Percent with so much wealth and power. Such liberals play an important function by helping to keep the ruling class in power and their system preserved, and for this service they are well rewarded with access to media and funding. Have you noticed that none of the liberal websites such as Salon, AlterNet, and TomDispatch are covering this strange turn of events perpetrated by Glenn Greenwald?

It should also be understood that many people who are raised in class-structured societies are always subject to thorough indoctrination in the beliefs about the merits of authorities. Hence, many people are conflicted when presented with evidence that suggests the fallibility and corruption of these authorities, their representatives, or even liberal spokespeople. 

Trans-Latin business and land grabbing in Latin America

Click here to access article by Sally Burch from América Latina en Movimiento.

In this article Burch interviews Cristobal Kay, a specialist in development and agrarian reform, who explains the current phenomenon of capitalist land-grabbing and its current form in Latin America which is quite different from the old latifundia.
...now it is not a question of expropriating uncultivated, unproductive land, as was the case with the old large estates.  These are capitalist enterprises, with large and highly productive investments, high-tech, completely integrated into the international market; hence governments are extremely reluctant to touch these businesses. 
 Kay also has ideas on what is necessary to combat land-grabbing.

Victims no longer: Spain’s anti-eviction movement

Click here to access article by Carlos Delclós from openDemocracy.

People in Spain have been some of the worst victims in Europe of the 2007/2008 capitalist engineered economic collapse. Following large street demonstrations early on, activists there are now engaged in slowly building an opposition movement by helping people to keep their homes (they have stopped over 800 evictions) and to house those who have already lost their homes. I think there is much to be learned here from their strategies.
I would say that our tactics and strategies are mostly short-term and consist of establishing goals that are attainable in terms of their time-frame and the energy they require. These short-term, tangible successes lead people to go from being dejected and demoralized to being empowered and making an impact in their communities, in relatively little time. They also help us keep the movement visible, reach more people and continue to question politicians and bankers about changing the law.

At the same time, our assemblies assure that we are always learning from and training one another, so that we never lose the essence of what makes the PAH so important, which is the people who participate in the movement. Without a doubt, the PAH’s greatest success has been to empower people.

Thursday, December 19, 2013

Mr. Snowden, It’s Time to Come Out and Take a Stand Publicly as to Your Intentions

Click here to access article by Sibel Edmonds from Boiling Frogs

As the founder and president of the National Security Whistleblowers Coalition, a nonprofit organization dedicated to aiding national security whistleblowers, Edmonds is rightfully very concerned about the strange and troubling twists in related events subsequent to Snowden's asylum in Russia.

To fully understand this post, you need to be aware of the developments leading up to it. To review these developments, I highly recommend that you read her earlier posts on the subject:

12/8/2013: Checkbook Journalism & Leaking to the Highest Bidder
12/11/2013: BFP Report- Omidyar’s PayPal Corporation Said To Be Implicated in Withheld NSA Documents
12/13/2013: Greenwald Goes on Record: “I Don’t Doubt PayPal Cooperates with NSA!”
12/13/2013: Greenwald-Omidyar Venture: Blurring Lines Between Being A Source & Being A Journalist
12/14/2013: Green-Light for Greenwald: Government Duplicity or Government Duality? 
Sibel Edmonds
Sibel Edmonds
Checkbook Journalism & Leaking to the Highest Bidder - See more at: http://www.boilingfrogspost.com/2013/12/15/mr-snowden-its-time-to-come-out-and-take-a-stand-publicly-as-to-your-intentions/#sthash.QYq9oSP

The Double Standards of U.S. Nuclear Policy on Iran

Click here to access article by Tyler Cullis from Muftah

The headline may be obvious to many visitors to my blog, but this author lays out the facts in some detail.
It is instructive...to examine just how the United States and its European partners have treated Iran’s nuclear program in comparison to other states. Of  particular interest are those countries which are more closely allied to the West and have run into similar trouble with the International Atomic Energy Agency, as well as those that exist outside the nonproliferation regime altogether.

Complications of the Saudi Alliance With Israel

Click here to access article by As'ad AbuKhalil from Al Akhbar
Never before has the Saudi government felt comfortable flaunting its alliance with Israel. This alliance is not new and has long historical precedences. But the Saudi royal family, in the age of the second generation of princes, has been changing tactics: Historically cautious and duplicitous, the Saudi regime is now open about its alliance with the United States and Israel (closer to Israel than the US as of late).

Globalization: Fast Track To Nowhere

Click here to access article by Colin Todhunter from his blog East by Northwest

This writer examines the fast-life created by capitalism on steroids that is destroying everything we love about communities, and he doesn't like it. There are hints throughout the article that he is becoming aware of what is causing the drastic transformation of all life in service to the profit addicted capitalist ruling classes.
  • ...that’s what fast living or, to be precise, the system that creates it does. It corrupts and destroys most things that get in its way. It recasts everything in its own image. 
  • The root of the problem needs to be addressed. The slow life, whether slow food or slow urban environments, is impossible if we fail to realize that decisions about urban planning, economic activity, investment, products and services, etc, are made through the capture of governments, regulatory agencies and courts by corporations adamant on expanding and perpetuating their dominance.  
  • ...we must eradicate the material conditions that produce and perpetuate class-based exploitation and divisions on an increasingly global level. 
  • What we need is proper democracy achieved through, for example, common ownership of banks and key industries and a commitment to ‘green’ policies and renewable energy. 
          [my emphasis]

The Nuclear Menace: Iran? Are You Serious? Or Delirious?

Click here to access article by Frank Scott from legalienate.

If you like your commentary in the form of hard-hitting satire, this blog is the place for you.

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

"Green Capitalism: Why it can’t work"

Click here to access this book review of Green Capitalism: Why it can't work by reviewer Ian Angus posted on Climate & Capitalism.
Although some aspects are open to challenge, Green Capitalism: Why it can’t work is an important contribution to the fight against climate change and for ecosocialism. [Author] Tanuro isn’t just a writer, he’s a leading environmental activist, and it shows – he provides a wealth of concrete information and analysis that we can actually use in the struggle against capitalist ecocide.

Are We Falling Off the Climate Precipice?

Click here to access article by Dahr Jamail from TomDispatch. (Note: if you wish to skip Engelhardt's introduction, you will need to scroll down to the article by Jamail.) 

If somehow you have wandered innocently onto this website, I think I should warn you that the content of this article could be hazardous to your mental health--especially if you normally only consume the news and information pablum provided by corporate owned media. 

Okay, now for the rest of us who still look critically and fearlessly at information, what I found most disturbing in this article by an independent journalist and author is the timeline record of scientific predictions which suggests that the most negative predictions are likely the most accurate. I intuitively felt this all along, but now the evidence that the author provides largely confirms this fear.

Here is one statement from a scientist that I felt was especially true--although I would put far more emphasis on the economic system than on numbers of people:
"Economic growth is the biggest destroyer of the ecology. Those people who think you can have a growing economy and a healthy environment are wrong. If we don't reduce our numbers, nature will do it for us. .... Everything is worse and we're still doing the same things. Because ecosystems are so resilient, they don't exact immediate punishment on the stupid."

Americans Are Finally Learning About False Flag Terror

Click here to access article from Washington's Blog.



So Common … There’s a Name for It
 

This tactic is so common that it was given a name for hundreds of years ago.
 

“False flag terrorism” is defined as a government attacking its own people, then blaming others in order to justify going to war against the people it blames. 

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

The End of Childhood in the Era of the Emerging American Police State

Click here to access article by John W. Whitehead from Blacklisted News.

Referring to numerous incidents involving police being called in to deal with children acting out, the author regards them as more signs of an emerging police state in the US.
...their true purpose...seems to be simply to acclimate children to the mindset of paranoia and absolute deference to authority which has taken hold of the American populace at large. Children, who are naturally suspect of illegitimate authority, are being conditioned to accept any and all orders from on high, even those which they inherently know are wrong.

Bahrain expansion latest signal of continued US presence

Click here to access article by Hendrick Simoes from Stars and Stripes.

Isn't it interesting in this age of austerity that news of government spending on military bases and operations throughout the world rarely make it into corporate news? Of course, we also don't hear much about the years of the Medieval kingdom's brutal crackdown on protestors (see this and this). 
The $580 million expansion now underway at the U.S. Navy base here, which will nearly double its size, is a clear signal of the Pentagon’s commitment to maintaining a strong presence in the Middle East.

The Life and Times of Jacques de Groote

Click here to access article by Eric Toussaint from the Committee for the Cancellation of the Third World Debt.  

The author reviews the history of a key player in the IMF and World Bank who was recently convicted and fined for his involvement in "money laundering and fraud or complicity of fraud". After looking into his background, Toussaint has uncovered a career in the most nefarious, but legal international banking institutions that played a major role in capitalist exploitation of African resources. 
Beyond the narrow scope of this trial, it is interesting to take a broader look at Jacques de Groote’s personal trajectory, because he was an emblematic figure of the IMF and World Bank, and there is a link between the role he played in these institutions and this affair brought before Swiss courts.

Fracking Chemicals Interfere With Hormone Function, Contaminate Groundwater With Endocrine-Disrupters

Click here to access article by Matthew Mientka from Medical Daily.
"More than 700 chemicals are used in the fracking process, and many of them disturb hormone function," Nagel, also a research scientist, said in a statement Monday. "With fracking on the rise, populations may face greater health risks from increased endocrine-disrupting chemical exposure."

The Empire Strikes Back: How Wall Street Has Turned Housing Into a Dangerous Get-Rich-Quick Scheme - Again

Click here to access article by Laura Gottesdiener from TomDispatch. (Note: if you wish to skip Engelhardt's introduction, you will need to scroll down to the article.)

For the past few years I expected that this was happening, and looked in vain to find much media coverage. It has apparently been a well kept secret hidden mostly from the public because it is far too embarrassing for the One Percent ruling class to reveal.

This class loves their economic busts because they provide splendid opportunities to buy up assets on the cheap. The 2007/2008 featured most prominently a collapse in the housing market set up by the ruling class who induced so many of the 99 Percent to take out easy mortgages. Remember the "ownership society" theme promoted by George Bush back in 2004?  Now they are cashing in on this great profit opportunity by buying  housing on the cheap and renting them back at high rates to people who have been thrown out of their homes by banks.

Monday, December 16, 2013

Union, politicians press Boeing workers for revote on rejected contract extension

Click here to access article by Hector Cordon from World Socialist Web Site.

The ongoing issue of whether Boeing uses its facilities in the Seattle area or move to numerous other sites across the country is an excellent illustration of the power of these huge corporations. They appear more powerful than the State of Washington which has proposed giving it record setting tax write-offs if they stay in the state. And, of course, there is no contest when they are put up against labor unions. 

Unless you believe, like many liberals and other social critics, that these corporations can be downsized sufficiently to give local communities, states, and unions more power when confronting these mammoth corporations, then the only alternative is to socialize these corporations under public ownership.

Meanwhile, The Globe and Mail reports that Boeing has so much cash that they are buying their own stock and raising dividends to its stockholders (read wage-slave holders).  

NAFTA at 20: State of the North American Worker

Click here to access article by Jeff Faux from Foreign Policy in Focus.

NAFTA was the opening fusillade in the neo-capitalist (aka neoliberal) war against workers and against national legal protections of workers which previous generations had fought for with their blood, sweat, and tears.

In this article the author gives us a kind of report card on NAFTA after 20 years of working its neoliberal policies into the web of trade in North American countries, and it looks like straight "F"s for workers and "A"s for corporations.

Faux summarizes the causalities suffered by workers in Mexico and the US in four ways. Unfortunately, his narrow focus analyses the passage of NAFTA in the US in terms of Democrats versus Republicans, but it is obvious that both played a role in its passage. Of course, this is always the case in the ongoing class war. Also, the author's liberal political perspective about improving the lot of workers limits his imagination to reforms only, and ignores the reality of a system that by their design always gives the owning class enormous advantages in the class war.

This is what happens when you outlaw peaceful protest

Click here to access article by Jerome Roos from Reflections on a Revolution.

The Spanish people are once again in the streets all over Spain protesting against the draconian new laws proposed by Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy "that would effectively ban protests near state buildings and impose hefty fines of up to 600,000 euros and even jail time on those trying to organize “unlawful” demonstrations via social media." 

Considering similar events in Egypt and efforts elsewhere to curtail mass protests, Roos sees a trend for ruling elites whose capitalist regimes have been thoroughly discredited to resort to the suspension of civil liberties and state violence to secure their rule. He argues that this trend raises a number of questions that dissenters must face in the near future.

Nelson Mandela: Eulogies of Imperialist Hypocrites & a Revolution Betrayed by Capitalism

Click here to access article by Steven Argue from Santa Cruz, California IndyMedia

Ruling class media have been working overtime to indoctrinate you in the wrong ideas about the significance of Mandela's life. In addition to a good antidote to the massive and hypocritical coverage from mainstream media, Argue also contributes a very interesting history of communist ideas and their influence on Mandela. 

Here are some more antidotes for the poison of ruling class media coverage:

The FBI’s Next Generation Identification Program: Big Brother’s ID System?

Click here to access article from Electronic Privacy Information Center (EPIC)
The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) is developing a biometric identification database program called "Next Generation Identification" (NGI). When completed, the NGI system will be the largest biometric database in the world. The program is of particular interest to EPIC because of the far-reaching implications for personal privacy and the risks of mass surveillance.

The vast majority of records contained in the NGI database will be of US citizens. The NGI biometric identifiers will include fingerprints, iris scans, DNA profiles, voice identification profiles, palm prints, and photographs. The system will include facial recognition capabilities to analyze collected images. Millions of individuals who are neither criminals nor suspects will be included in the database.

Sunday, December 15, 2013

Legion

Click here to access article posted by darbikrash from Collapse of Industrial Civilization.

The author takes us on quite a thought provoking tour beginning with a comical, moralistic rant by Rush Limbaugh, to a surprisingly radical sounding social critique from--of all people--the Pope, and ending with a thesis argued way back in 1921 that capitalism is really a religion that replaced Christianity (a belief that I have long held). Interspersed in all this are graphic displays suggesting themes of disintegration and chaos.

In Which Ignatius Does Not Understand "Hegemony"

Click here to access article by Bernhard from his blog Moon of Alabama.

This blogger exposes the blatant imperial bias of a Washington Post columnist at one of two US ruling class newspapers that function as a mouthpiece for the ruling One Percent. It is important to recognize that such expression of opinions are not merely those of the columnist, but serve notice for media executives across the country on views that are considered politically correct by the One Percent.

From Bahrain to Ukraine: Hail the Western Salesmen of Subversion and Deception

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

This independent Irish journalist and writer reports on last week's Manama Dialogue conference sponsored by the International Institute for Strategic Studies (IISS), a British based "think tank", which is presented at their website as a meeting to discuss regional security issues. From his report alone we can see that it is more likely an Empire conference on imperial strategy to protect the Empire's geopolitical interests. 

It seems clear from the speech given by U.S. Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel that the Empire representative wanted to reassure GCC Arab and Israeli members that the US is committed to their security interests in spite of differences that have arisen recently over Syrian, Egyptian, and Iranian issues.

In this article the author points out the hypocrisy of the members' high-sounding rhetoric given the ongoing brutal repression of dissent in Bahrain, the location of their conference, and members support of many dictatorships and terrorist groups in the region.
What a cruel joke. Western governments do not support democracy in Bahrain – or anywhere else for that matter – because they make money from oil and arms sales by supporting dictatorships, and from crushing and subverting democracy. .... Despite their polished and preening rhetoric, Washington and London are nothing but the salesmen for subversion and deception.
Saudi Arabia, a major player in the region and in attendance at the meeting, can't even tolerate people who call for a constitutional monarchy.

Rent-A-Cop: The Rise of the Mercenary Police State

Click here to access article by Don Quijones from Raging Bull-Shit.

The author shows where the logic of neo-capitalism or 21st century capitalism, better known as neoliberalism, is headed:
As the private increasingly trumps the public, and as the concerted will of the rich and powerful quashes the growing needs of the poor and powerless, the world we inhabit gradually takes on the form of a brutally cold, heartless neo-feudal system of economic and political governance.

It promises to be a world where might and money make right; where government exists merely to collect taxes and redistribute funds to banks and corporations; and where not only opportunities but also security and the protection of the law become the sole preserve of those who can afford them.

Saturday, December 14, 2013

Do we have enough time to fix global warming?

Click here to access article by Gary Engler from New Commune-ist Manifesto (Canada).

This is a very inspirational piece in a time when we need all the inspiration we can get.

Does the Pentagon Really Need Another $20 Billion?

Click here to access article by William D. Hartung from CounterPunch.

It was no surprise that the liberal writer introduced his topic with an expression of relief that the government shutdowns were apparently over due to the recent budget deal worked out between the great political adversaries (sarcasm) in our government--Republicans and Democrats. The government shutdowns, of course, were planned precisely to harass us sufficiently so that we would tolerate the draconian cuts to our welfare. 

On the other hand, I seriously would like to thank him for pointing out the increase (!) in military spending that all other reports till now have omitted. And unlike many critics, he has discovered how military spending shows up not only in the Department of Defense, but in the budgets of other departments...well, according to him, in at least one other department.

He seems thoroughly puzzled by this increase, and like a young boy baffled by seeing his parents wrestling in bed in the middle of the night, looks for explanations when it's obvious what is going on.

This morning I noticed another bizarre bit of bad news related to the budget bill in an article entitled "Budget Deal Opens up Parts of Gulf of Mexico for Drilling" from OilPrice.com. I wonder how many other bad deals were stuck onto this bill--we'll probably slowly learn about them over the coming weeks as they leak out.

How TV Uses NLP To Brainwash You [Video]

Click here to access 29:39m video posted by Gabriel Donohoe from his blog Fools Crow Blog

The video provides a very interesting examination of techniques used to discredit and/or manipulate the audience's interpretation of comments from interviewees on Fox programs. The narrator identifies these techniques as neuro-linguistic programming. Such interviewers must undergo training to master these techniques, and begs the question as to where they get this training.

A $335,000 Tiara? You Shouldn’t Have!

Click here to access article by Simon Doonan from Slate.

This is another contribution to my practice on Saturdays to run stories about our fellow citizens of the One Percent (actually .01 of the 1%, or one out of every 10,000 of us) hoping that by doing this that we don't lose touch with their world and their concerns--you know, to promote understanding.  

It is important that we become better acquainted so that we can serve them better and make it easier for them to carry out the daily burden of making important decisions, decisions which affect whether we go off to war in foreign lands to kill their enemies, if we have jobs, if we live in a home or under a bridge, if we can afford their health care services, education, etc. 

Unfortunately, for some reason they tend to hide their lives from the rest of us behind walls of secrecy, literal walls of guarded gated communities, private clubs, esoteric publications, by traveling with private jets, etc. We should not let that deter us. 

This author reports on the difficulties our rich masters have around Christmas time: deciding what presents to give to their important others. One characteristic of these people is their competitiveness. In this piece we see how this trait poses serious issues for them in preparing for Christmas.
Around the holiday season I always start feeling really bad for the 1 percent. Every year they come under increasing pressure to astonish each other with insanely lavish gifts, and every year the stakes get higher. If you bought your hedge-fund pal a mink-lined submarine last year, how on earth are you supposed to top that? The potential for hissy fits is huge.

Friday, December 13, 2013

The US budget deal and the political conspiracy against the working class

Click here to access article by Andre Damon from World Socialist Web Site

Now that the public has been sufficient harassed and softened up with the"dog and pony shows" of government shutdowns, our ruling masters have decided to go ahead with the drastic cuts to social programs that they have planned all along. The author generally summarizes these cuts and explains the various aspects of the fake drama.
The outcome of the budget talks was predictable. Against those who promoted the official narrative of the October government shutdown—peddled by both the mainstream press and various fake “left” organizations—that the main characteristic of US politics is the vast ideological chasm between the Democratic and Republican parties, the World Socialist Web Site wrote: “Behind the façade of partisan ‘gridlock,’ there has never been greater consensus between the two parties on substantive matters of social policy. They completely agree on making the broad mass of the population pay for the crisis of American and world capitalism.”

Who Should You Believe When it Comes to the Safety of Genetically Engineered Foods?

Click here to access article by Jill Richardson from AlterNet.

The author points out the difficulties in deciding whether one should consume genetically engineered foods by focusing on corporate influences over the design of research that has been done on GE foods, the bias of scientists who have ties to GE corporations, and the difficulties in getting studies published that shed doubt on GE foods. The common thread here is the control of funding for research and scientific publications by private interests who stand to reap huge profits from GE foods. She provides us with an excellent exposé of the influence of private money interests over the production of food and public health.

However, this raises another, and even more disturbing question: cannot the same influences illustrated in this one sub-sector of society not apply to all major sectors? Take any other sector such as education, media, or government and you find the same pernicious influences at work. The concentration of wealth in private hands has become so pronounced that we in the 99 Percent, who do not "own" any significant amounts of economic property, are now at the mercy of our corporate/financial/capitalist masters in nearly all areas of our lives. Have we in the 99 Percent not returned to the extreme subordination to a ruling class which is very much like serfdom of the Middle Ages? Is this period in which we are now living the 21st century's neoliberal equivalent of the Middle Ages?

Thursday, December 12, 2013

Street Politics 101: the story behind the ‘maple spring’

Click here to access article by the ROAR Collective from Reflections on a Revolution.

This brief article introduces a must-view 33:39m video which tells the story of militant tactics used against Quebec authorities by students and their supporters to win victories against tuition hikes and onerous legal actions taken by those authorities against activists. Militant tactics included fighting back against police, attacking police property, attacking corporate property, taking possession of public buildings and streets, all of which were illegal. 

This report needs to be circulated all over the US to reach activists who have been cowed by liberals like Chris Hedges who, while using radical rhetoric, want you to limit your actions to completely non-threatening actions like candlelight marches. Isn't it a bit strange, don't you think, that such critics have not addressed the victories of the Quebec students who used precisely the militant tactics that such liberal critics condemn ("The cancer in Occupy")?

Radical GHG emissions policies need radical social movements to back them

Click here to access article by Gabriel Levy from People and Nature

The author reports on some of the comments made by scientists and environmental activists attending the recent (this Tuesday and yesterday) conference in London called "Radical [greenhouse gas] Emissions Reduction conference". It's clear from what some of them are saying is that 1) we must immediately radically reduce the use of high carbon energy, 2) this will give us the time needed (2-3 decades) to build the infrastructure to supply low-carbon forms of energy, and 3) this will require a Marshall Plan scale of effort. 

This is what I heard Professor Kevin Anderson and others say is needed to prevent the problem of runaway climate change--and he is not sure if it isn't already too late. Listen to Prof. Anderson of Tyndall Centre for Climate Change Research in the following interview to see if you agree.



So, assuming the above three actions are needed to prevent runaway, disastrous climate change, what do you think are the chances they will be implemented in societies thoroughly under the control of capitalists whose mindset is on next quarter's financial statements?

The EyeOpener Report- Who Decides Who’s Crazy? – Big Pharma & the DSM

Click here to access a revealing 10:40m video produced by James Corbett posted on Boiling Frogs. (I urge you to support this website.)

The video report illustrates once again the pervasive, corrosive influence of capitalism in another vital sector of our society--health care. 
Commonly referred to as the psychiatric diagnostic “bible,” the APA’s Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders has always generated controversy. How are disorders diagnosed? What criteria are used to establish disorders in the first place? Are the categories subjective? Do they reflect cultural biases?
Find out about the DSM and big pharma influence over the modern psychiatric profession in this week’s edition of the Boiling Frogs Post EyeOpener report with James Corbett. 

Hope in the Age of Looming Authoritarianism

Click here to access article by Henry A. Giroux from Uncommon Thought Journal

If you like your culture criticism in the form of sophisticated liberal rants, then you can't do much better than those written by Giroux. Here he argues that the problem is "authoritarianism" which is merely a symptom, usually referred to as "fascism", of a capitalist regime that feels threatened. He does mention capitalism, but it is only a specific form that bothers him--"casino capitalism". Such critiques divert attention (and actions) away from the primary agent, the private ownership of a socially constructed economy, onto merely a particular form of capitalism. Hence, according to this view, only reforms to the system are needed.

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Book Review: "The Victory of Capital" by Ulrike Herrmann

Click here to access article by Wolfgang Lieb from some unknown German publication and translated and posted on IndyBay (San Francisco, California).
Ulrike Herrmann’s new book “The Victory of Capital – How Wealth Came into the World” is a very interesting and readable book that is not only for the economically trained. Ulrike Herrmann bursts many widespread political-economic myths and current economic platitudes and opens up perspectives for economic connections that were blocked in the course of the last decades by the dominant dogma of so-called “neoliberalism.” ...Ulrike Herrmann’s theses...offer important food for thought and bring to light buried alternatives to the alleged lack of alternatives.
(Note: The author of the book is referred to by the reviewer as an "economic correspondent of taz"--taz being a popular reference to Die Tageszeitung which is a daily newspaper in German catering to the intellectual left.)

The WTO pushes through bad deal in the final hours; Developed countries and TNCs are the big winners

Click here to access article by mabini from Alliance of Progressive Labor (Philippines).
The WTO has once again shown that it is an organization for the developed countries and the TNCs, pushing free trade rules that only benefit the rich and concentrate even more wealth in the hands of a few. It has not and never will deliver development for the people.

Ethiopian-born Israeli MP rejected by blood bank, told she has "special blood"

Click here to access article from Al Akhbar.

I couldn't pass on posting this piece which with astounding clarity illustrates the deep racist nature of this Zionist nation which so often tries to paint itself as a victim of racism.

The Volcker Rule That Isn’t: The Velvet Rope Approach to Criminal Behavior

Click here to access article by Pam Martens from Wall Street on Parade

Although I am often critical of mainstream critics like Martens for their reformist oriented perspectives on current capitalist crimes and misdemeanors, I also credit her (and them) with pointing out the latter which mainstream media are so skilled at hiding. It seems to me that this new form of capitalism on steroids, better know as neoliberalism, has left in its wake many capitalist oriented critics who cry foul at the excesses of this global juggernaut. Many of them also realize that this new stage of capitalism and its agents are creating many disasters, the worst of all to these critics is the destruction of the system itself, the goose which has laid so many golden eggs for its owners, and for them in their careers. 

You see, our current capitalist masters are now engaged in a kind of feeding frenzy. I think that they instinctively know that what they are doing is destroying the planet and wrecking havoc on the great majority of humans; but they are very much like the corrupt French aristocracy before the revolution, who lived according to the theme "apres moi deluge" (very loosely translated means "I will steal as much as I can and I don't care what happens later to my class").

(For a good info-graphic representing this new "turbo capitalism", see this.)   

If you like your culture criticism in the form of sophisticated liberal rants, then you can't do much better than those written by Henry Giroux. Here is a recent article in which he argues that the problem is "authoritarianism" which is merely a symptom, more honestly referred to as "fascism", of a capitalism regime that feels threatened. He does mention capitalism, but it is only a specific form that bothers him--"casino capitalism". Such critiques divert attention (and actions) away from the primary agent, the private ownership of a socially constructed economy, onto merely a particular form of capitalism. Hence, only reforms to the system are needed. 

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Climate politics must be as radical as the climate crisis

Click here to access article by Simon Butler from Climate & Capitalism.

This article is not recommended for any faint of heart environmental activists who are concerned about the prospects of climate disasters that lie in our future. To be bluntly honest, I think that the evidence is mounting that leads to an inescapable conclusion that we are now in a runaway climate catastrophe. It looks to me like the monster system of capitalism created by humans is now on an irreversible course to destroy a habitat that can sustain human life. 
From the standpoint of humanity having a safe future on this planet, this race to wreck and poison the Earth for profit is insane, even suicidal. Yet for the powerful companies that stand to profit, and from the standpoint of the capitalist system as a whole, it’s an entirely predictable response. The methodical destruction of the life-giving properties of our planet is the visible product of “the invisible hand.”
This is an inescapable reality precisely because the system provides the ruling One Percent with enormous amounts of the short-term benefits of wealth and power, while knowledgeable liberals compromise their criticisms of the system because they fear the loss of their comforts by attacking the system too much, and the vast majority of humans are mired in ignorance and disinformation about the future because they spend all their time and efforts merely trying to survive.

Geoengineering The Sky is Not 'Normal'

Click here to access article by Rachel Smolker from Huffington Post.

This author who is a co-director of Biofuelwatch, a Britain based group whose mission is "to raise awareness of the negative impacts of industrial biofuels and bioenergy", was somehow invited to a conference at John Hopkins university behind close doors. Here is how she described the attendees at the meeting:
Nobody in attendance was a shade darker than a bowl of oatmeal, all were dressed in drab, illuminated by glowing computers, tablets and smartphones. Represented were staff from Johns Hopkins and American University, as well as the conservative American Enterprise Institute (Lee Lane), Bipartisan Policy Center, NASA (Mike McCracken), the renowned blogger, Joe Romm, and long time (but now retired) Friends of the Earth director, Brent Blackwelder. There were representatives from U.S. Climate Action Network, Greenpeace, Food and Water Watch and various others. Certainly more diverse than some meetings, but even I could not avoid the sensation of being sort of a token.
It appears to her and many others that capitalist leaders, especially those in the Empire, have given up on their campaign to discredit scientific evidence of global warming and have entered a new stage in which the main objective is to normalize the discussions about saving the planet by tinkering with the global ecosystem. Yes, these people in their desperate struggle to save capitalism, the goose that lays their golden eggs, are now preparing to run experiments on the planet's ecosystem in order to save it for more consumption of car-cars, cosmetics, and Coca-Cola; and they want to instill the idea in everyone that to embark on this megalomaniac project is perfectly normal. To induce cooperation, there will be prizes for many highly educated scientists.
What is clear is that climate geoengineering is opening new doors for many career seekers. From scientists with superman complexes, eager to be seen as doing "cutting edge" work with big important global consequence, to various environmental and other NGO careerists seeking grant support, status and a place at the table.