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, September 21, 2013
The author attempts a lot in this essay and I leave it to you to see if she always succeeds. She reports that the legitimacy of our ruling institutions is dissipating among wide sections of our nation. The ruling class instruments of social control rooted in public relations, modern advertising, and representative government are no longer as effective as they once were for most Americans. She offers various theories to explain this crisis of legitimacy and how it developed.
As her essay appears to be heading in the direction of us becoming "good Americans" like the "good Germans" under the Nazis, she argues for a much more positive development. However, I think it might be a bit too hopeful, but that is for you to decide.
While acknowledging the merits of the essay entitled "The People Against the 800 Pound Gorilla” posted in CounterPunch a week ago, Cooke argues that the authors ignored all the other capitalist gorillas who are playing major parts in this tragic drama, and explains the role they play.
Of course, the Israeli lobby, AIPAC, deserves a special place in any analysis of U.S. foreign policy in the Middle East, and the authors deserve credit for taking to task those who ignore this gorilla. But this primate expresses its power best as part of a coalition of pro-war powerhouses, not independently.
The class war heats up as US capitalism runs into trouble. However, I see the ruling class attack on poor people as entirely rational from their point of view--the capitalist system was designed to serve only one class.
The fact that programs that keep millions of people out of poverty are on the chopping block, while unlimited amounts of cash are made available to the handful of multibillionaire financial parasites, is an expression of the irrationality of the capitalist system, which sacrifices the needs of the vast majority of society for the direct enrichment of the financial elite.
The author sees through the ruse of a civil war between two extreme factions which ruling capitalist directors would like to use as a cover for a police-military crackdown on all dissent. The quote by Sinclair offers a useful political equation to suggest that capitalism will resort to murder whenever their other strategy doesn't work. Their other strategy is obviously liberalism. Thus, I think it logically follows that capitalism minus murder equals liberalism. In both equations I see capitalism as a constant, while the independent variable is the legitimacy of class rule among the larger population, with fascism and liberalism the dependent variables.
Framing the relationships this way suggests that liberalism is only another facade that hides the exploitative system of capitalism. In university philosophy and history classes liberalism is taken far too seriously as a thing in itself that somehow influenced the rise of capitalism. The agency is the other way around. Liberalism as expounded by Adam Smith, John Locke, David Hume, Jean-Jacques Rousseau, Thomas Paine, etc, whether they were consciously advancing property rights--the core concept of capitalism--or not, their ideas were strongly advanced by key capitalists as a major ideological weapon in the struggle against aristocratic rule. Liberalism was used as a cover to justify the elimination of all barriers to capitalist enterprises and the capitalist class's exclusive claims to the wealth derived from these enterprises. Hence, liberalism was, and continues to be, merely political propaganda and a tool to insure the rule of capitalists.
This scientist offers several possible explanations for some slight cooling in global temperatures from 1998. As one can see from the graph, there are other periods of temporary cooling.
Friday, September 20, 2013
Danny Schechter interviews Wolff who explains some of the economic issues that mainstream media refuses to discuss, and explains why, and how media is a primary means of social control by the ruling class.
...concentration of the media in fewer and fewer hands is a global phenomenon. Some media observers see in this a turn to the right, propelled by those with money. It is not a plot; it is simply that 100 people who own a Ferrari tend to have a more similar view of things than, for example, 100 people who own a Volkswagen.I think that Savio is being a bit disingenuous or naive here. Most directors in the ruling class know how indispensable media are to shaping the opinions of the 99 Percent, and consciously use it accordingly. The same applies to all the other institutions of indoctrination--schools, Hollywood films, etc. That is patently obvious to anyone awake and reasonably aware of the history of media to support wars, to discredit labor organizing and strikes, to fear Muslims, etc, and how the CIA has infiltrated media to plant fake stories and influence others (see this and this).
Newspapers, and now media in general, have been not merely "toys" for the rich, but instruments of social control for well over a century. Recall how the Hearst papers strongly influenced the start of US imperialism in the Spanish-American War? Read Upton Sinclair's Brass Check (1919) in which he cites hundreds of examples of how newspapers publishers manufactured news to serve their interests and protect their system of capitalism.
Few Americans realize that migrant workers from Mexico and Central America are usually forced to move north in order to survive due to neoliberal policies enacted since the late 1990s.
NAFTA allowed the dumping of corn, meat and other agricultural products in Mexico at low prices by huge corporations whose costs in the US are subsidized by the US farm bill. They did this in order to take over the market....In spite of political rhetoric coming from the mouths of corporate-sponsored right-wing sources, corporations and the ruling class in general love migrant workers. Because they are so vulnerable they will work cheaply, will not complain about hazardous working conditions, and will not try to organize unions. They are the ideal source of labor to create better bottom lines in corporate financial statements.
This is political parody at its best, and produced by a comedy theater group that has its roots in Chicago's Second City Theater. When I lived in Madison, Wisconsin during the Vietnam War years, I occasionally drove to Chicago to enjoy their wonderful satire directed against the US war machine.
Obama, even more so than Bush, Jr., deserves this kind of parody because he has been packaged and sold to liberal Americans as an alternative to the ruling class's other puppets who more obviously have served their interests.
The actions of the U.S. government for decades on the matter of biological and chemical weapons demonstrate that it cannot be trusted on this matter. The government was intimately involved with cover-ups on the use of these weapons. Their cover-up is likely still ongoing.
Thursday, September 19, 2013
If you simply cannot afford a subscription from Boiling Frogs website in order to access the full 16:20m video report, you can read the transcript of the report at the above link. It provides some rather astonishing insights on developments there.
By any reasonable standard, the US-led NATO-powered invasion and occupation of Afghanistan, now entering its 13th year, has been an unmitigated failure.
The economic costs of the war are easy enough to calculate, although difficult for the average person to comprehend. Even the most conservative estimate of the cost of the Afghanistan war shows that the US government alone has spent $659 billion dollars in the past 13 years of its occupation of the country. The UK government has spent a further 37 billion pounds on the war.
Of course, NATO does not measure the outcome of its mission by reasonable standards. They have their own entirely different yardstick by which they gauge their operations, and by that standard, the Afghan war has been an unqualified success.
Although I've found this financial critic very helpful at times in explaining financial issues, I've also found her critique of the capitalist system limited entirely to the banking sector. In other words, she believes that if our central bank were owned and operated by the government, there would be no significant problems in terms of social justice.
My view is that control of banking by private parties is at the very heart of capitalism, and certainly at the very core of capitalist ruling classes. In other words, we can't remove private control from banking as long as we have the capitalist system.
With that said, I recommend this piece because she is honest and informed about financial issues. I am not well informed on the phenomenon of what she refers to as the "shadow banking system", but she has links in the article that are helpful to understand this system. It is based on the use of the new "financial instruments" or derivative gambling scams. From what she reports, it appears that nothing really has substantially changed with Wall Street or the major banks in spite of all the Congressional hearings and laws that have been passed. Both are major players in the completely unregulated "shadow banking system", and it appears that we are headed for yet another economic meltdown because of their activities while still trying to recover from the last one. Ain't life wonderful?
...the corporations’ argument against the FCC’s net neutrality ruling isn’t only about bandwidth use. They are claiming the right to ban or restrict content and are rejecting the idea that the government can impose criteria for what they ban and restrict. The bottom line is that huge corporations, if they get their way, would be able to ban your website from any visitor — the would have that power — and that’s the very power used in countries like China and Iran where Internet use is repressed.
It is now clear that the Arctic is heading quickly for summer periods free of sea ice. A linear extrapolation of sea-ice mass loss suggests it may occur within a decade or so. An exponential fit, which is a better fit for the current data, suggests it might occur within a few years .
Wednesday, September 18, 2013
The author provides an excellent evaluation of the Occupy movement in the US:
...Occupy’s critique of representation and its reinvention of the democratic narrative virtually killed off the last remnants of party and state fetishism within the grassroots movements of the anti-capitalist left. Occupy’s horizontalism did not so much smash the vertical structures of the institutional left — reformist and revolutionary alike — but simply dissolved them through its emphasis on radical equality and open-ended inclusiveness, and its revolutionary vision of the directly democratic urban commune.But, he also sees the necessity to build on this experience:
...what’s next? It’s self-evident that Occupy reinvigorated anti-capitalist struggles in the US and across the world. But how can we now create the autonomous spaces (both physical and social) within which to carry on our experiment in radical democracy and from which to re-launch our disruptive direct actions against the 1%?"What's next?", of course, depends on you and I and all other social justice seeking activists across the county.
To answer this question, you and I and all the other activists must study information such as the author provides in this article. Please do not merely skim it. There is so much here. View the video link to study police strategy and tactics. Read the many links to other sources of valuable information that the author provides. For example, I was astonished to learn from one link a lot about the Domestic Security Alliance Council--an organization that I had never heard about before. It is an archetype and a perfect illustration of a fascist organization: a direct integration of corporations and government enforcement agencies to control domestic dissent.
This article, while offering considerable valuable information, is weak on analysis. Although I have not thoroughly studied it, what I have read from the article directly and indirectly through the sources it links to, I have concluded that its focus is on central banks as the focus of all evil apart from the system of capitalism. Thus, you will find that its material would be supported by old-fashioned conservatives and US libertarians because of its narrow focus. The author and her linked sources appear to have no problem with other small, privately owned banks issuing their own money in the form of bank notes as has occurred in much of US history, or as we continue to see today in the form of loans through the practice of fractional reserve banking.
Money is a very complicated subject and its history has been obviously and deliberately obscured by the ruling class whose core is made up of major bankers. Money when issued by private banks is usually the most lucrative capitalist operation of all.
Bankers, or people acting as bankers, discovered this long ago. Central banks are major banks functioning as a consortium of banks that are granted a monopoly by a government to issue its money and is backed by the full enforcement powers of the government. Major bankers are able to achieve this feat and get away with it because they are the core part of any capitalist ruling class. They play a key role in what gets produced in any society, and of course, what gets produced is always the most profitable regardless of consequences to society. War is the most extreme example.
For more information to help you to understand money creation, I recommend this source which is organized as a series of lessons designed by someone by the pseudonym of "Smithy". Smithy has degrees in mathematics and economics, and she works as a consultant calculating investment risk for financial institutions. For this reason, she can't reveal her real name. I also recommend a book entitled The Lost Science of Money by Stephen Zarlenga, but it is rather expensive. You could also check out my past articles using the label "money" in the "Categories" section for more information.
The information provided in this article on shale fracking illustrates how an important section of the ruling class, energy producers, use academia to promote, or more accurately, to cover for their environmentally destructive practices. This is only a more dramatic example of how the ruling class in general uses institutions of higher learning to promote their values, their history, and their system of capitalism that delivers to them so much wealth and, even more importantly, power.
Study sponsors listed in the 'Acknowledgments' section of the report include Anadarko Petroleum, BG Group, Chevron, Encana, Talisman and ExxonMobil subsidiary XTO Energy in addition to EDF. These are the obvious "frackademia" culprits raising red flags regarding the study's findings.
But that only scratches the surface.
Tuesday, September 17, 2013
This political analyst also sees that the power-addicted Empire directors will continue their imperialist agenda in the Middle East despite any deal regarding chemical weapons.
...even as this murderous agenda rolls ahead with no end in sight, it fails. Central Asia and the Middle East have been sent into chaos, nation after nation gutted, but the empire is no closer to its goal of a petro-economic salvation or lasting geostrategic control. Desperate military violence and brute force do not change the fact that the days of easily recoverable oil and gas are over, and with it capitalism as usual. The world economy shows no sign of lasting recovery, and severe internal stress. The US government is bankrupt, financially as well as morally, while the disillusionment of the American populace grows.
Eleven days before the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change publishes its latest report, a group of eminent scientists says there is massive evidence of human responsibility.
Monday, September 16, 2013
I am only posting this piece as an illustration of a liberal take on the issue of government surveillance. While in the past I have been aware of how this and other liberal media sources function to limit critical examination of ruling class policies and actions, I still try to approach their articles with an open mind to glean valuable information that they sometimes provide.
The first cue that the author was engaging in arguments to protect the ruling class was when he first used the term "bad guys"; and following that, how Snowden's revelations helped them.
...this is truly information that plenty of bad guys probably didn't know, and probably didn't have much of an inkling about. ....
Now every bad guy in the world knows for a fact that commercial crypto won't help them, and the ones with even modest smarts will switch to strong crypto techniques that remain unbreakable. It's still a pain in the ass, but it's not that big a pain in the ass.Clearly, the author buys into ruling class propaganda about "evil doers" and what logically follows from that assumption--a domestic police state combined with an aggressive foreign policy. He functions like a ruling class operative by framing Snowden's revelations this way. I would not be surprised to learn that he is on the payroll of the CIA, FBI, or NSA while writing for a liberal publication that hides behind the image of the real, historical Mother Jones, an IWW activist, who risked her life to help miners in 1914 at the Rockefeller coal mine in Ludlow, Colorado, and many other workers in actions across the US.
Whether he is a liberal who identifies with the capitalist ruling class or a sociopathic journalist on the payroll of a government "security" service, the intent is to limit the damage that the revelations may have had on many people who were shocked by them and have started to question government policies. Judging by the comments following the article, many people were not deterred from questioning government surveillance.
The Obama administration wants war with Syria. It has been planned for quite some time. It does not matter what kind of deal was made. It does not mean that the crisis in Syria is over and that a peaceful solution is in a matter of time. The US will attempt anything to get into another war including a “False Flag” operation, which could be well on its way.Also, I recommend this article by Tony Cartalucci from Land Destroyer entitled "Syria's "Rebels" Threaten UN - Will Use US Weapons".
...millions of U.S. workers...have been laid off from their jobs in the corporate world during the long and deep recession.... They can’t get their jobs back, because at the current rate of hiring, corporations and other sectors are hiring so slowly that it will take until 2020 before the U.S. economy reaches pre-recession unemployment conditions. Despite this, the companies have billions to give away?Read the article to find out why.
Launched in 1995, the World Trade Organization (WTO) completed the Bretton Woods trio with the World Bank, and the International Monetary Fund in promoting neoliberalism and corporate globalization. The WTO was particularly special in its power to legally enforce and penalize countries, taking away the policy space of governments, and on several occasions, forcing them to change their national laws in order to implement global free trade rules.
The article provides examples of how international trade agreements usurp local control of the economy. It also shows what policies are needed to promote a healthy, ecologically sustainable economy. However, it fails to identify the system of capitalism which of necessity promotes harmful policies. In spite of this omission the article reaches a sound, although rather vague conclusion:
To really address the climate crisis, a world without the WTO and the FTAs, one that is not dominated by transnational corporations and the global free trade regimes, is necessary! We have to change the system, and we have to do this now.
This is a first installment in an unknown number of series that tries to determine if the human race is already "screwed" due to their extravagant use of fossil fuels and other assaults on the Earth's ecosystem.
In a compelling survey, this report answers the question many are afraid to ask: is climate change already dangerous?
This science survey measures the current manifestations and impacts of climate change against the "safe boundaries" metric; surveys the literature on tipping points and non-linear climate events; and provides a detail study of significant recent events in the Arctic.
Sunday, September 15, 2013
While many Mainstream Media outlets support the law, it does little to benefit the freelancers who frequently provide robust coverage of under-reported stories. Further, it specifically targets those who publish in what some members of Congress would deem questionable outlets, such as watchdog groups or independent blogs.This discusses a key piece of legislation before Congress that could mark a major turning point in the control of information that we now have access to. This law might be an effort at constructing a noose to hang many independent journalists and others like myself who pass on their reports.
This proposed legislation is another illustration of how constitutional guarantees can be rather easily subverted by the ruling class whenever they are seen as impediments to their rule. In this case we might see a direct assault on constitutional guarantees of press freedom. In most cases unconstitutional actions are engaged in through various means such as government secrecy, control of major media, persecution of leakers, even targeted assassinations of journalists (see this, this, and this), control of courts, and international agreements such as the so-called "free trade" agreements.
This very astute political analyst provides an excellent summary of the events leading up to this current crisis and the agreement, but he is a lot more optimistic than I am about the recent agreement between Russia and the US over Syrian chemical weapons to provide any kind of stable peace in the region.
The people of the United States have, for the first time in decades, stopped a war that their president wanted to pursue. That is a huge victory and a precedence. They should remember it well when the next manufactured war on this or that small country comes up. They have the power to stop it.While the argument that the Obama administration needed and got a face-saving way out of their "red-line" attack on Syria because of a lack of public support, I think that there is far too much momentum behind the effort to destabilize Syria, and far too much at stake for the Empire's ambitions in this key area of the world to simply cease and desist from their plans. The directors of the Empire likely see this as only a temporary setback, and who knows what nefarious actions they will come up with to continue with their Middle East agenda.
...there will eventually have to be a point where the irresistible force of market fundamentalism runs up against the unmovable object of popular resistance. The social collision course upon which the ruling elite has embarked is now playing out in front of our very eyes. A global class war is unfolding.Well, I agree, but it seems likely to me that it will be too late to save an ecosystem capable of sustaining human life.