Polish artist Pawel Kuczynski has worked in satirical illustration since 2004, specializing in thought-provoking images that make his audience question their everyday lives. His subjects deal with everything from social media to politics to poverty, and all have a very distinct message if you look closely enough…
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, May 31, 2014
In this article brimming with passionate concern for our future, Vltchek asks some very basic questions that all activists must deal with. As a way of summary, I think this is what he is basically asking: how can we activists be effective in communicating to others the truth about what is happening in the world AND overcome the megaphones of capitalist mind-controlling media and indoctrination-loaded education?
It should be considered when reading this article that Bonner is, and has been, a major player in the capitalist economy. His political-economic orientation appears to be that of fundamentalist capitalist. And, he is a "goldbug". He like his fellow players probably constitute the upper middle class who are the hands-on people who make the system work. The problem for the capitalist class--and they are starting to worry about this--is that these middle class people are starting to worry about how the system works and are asking questions that the ruling capitalist class finds a bit embarrassing.
In this article he focuses on a trend that is very worrying to him: the use of debt to keep the system going. And, even more valuable, is the graph showing to considerable extent how the system currently functions in the US. It reveals far more truth about the US as a capitalist empire than even Bonner seems to be aware of. Here is the graphic.
This humorous article is about people we are all familiar with--far to familiar with--who are plagued with a false consciousness writ large, a contemporary manifestation of the Stockholm syndrome.
We are made up of the same five elements — earth, water, fire, air and space — that constitute the Universe. We are the soil. We are the earth. What we do to the soil, we do to ourselves. And it is no accident that the words “humus” and “humans” have the same roots.
This ecological truth is forgotten in the dominant paradigm because it is based on eco-apartheid, the false idea that we are separate and independent of the earth....
As the Arctic ice melt accelerates due to climate change it could release more than 1 trillion pieces of plastic into the ocean over the next decade, possibly posing a major threat to marine life, a new scientific report said.
Friday, May 30, 2014
Empire directors often use managed elections in order to dress up their victims in "democratic" clothing. It is a major tool in their imperial arsenal, a fig leaf to cover the obscenity of their subversive activities.
The US will scream and bellow that, an election having been held, he will have every right to take such actions—which by sheer coincidence dovetail with the US’ own agenda. An ’elected president’ can quite legitimately (according to those who accept him as such) order the suppression of rebellion on his country’s territory. He can have deserters and traitors shot and imprisoned, and consolidate and focus military force as he deems fit.Meanwhile, let us switch to another Empire victim who just completed an election with a 95% victory claimed for a US armed and trained military general. Stephen Gowans writes:
Apart from underpinning Egypt’s role as an agent of US influence in the Arab world, Washington’s military aid program to the country—surpassed only by aid to Israel—is a source of handsome profits to US military contractors.
Every year US taxpayers fork over $1.3 billion to the Egyptian military to submit large orders for weaponry and equipment to US arms manufacturers. In concrete terms, the bullets Egyptian soldiers used to mow down Morsi supporters were purchased by US taxpayers.
Adding to Cairo’s value as a US ally is that fact that it grants the Pentagon virtual carte-blanche access to its territory.
The Right is advancing rapidly, even if unevenly across Europe. Its support is not ephemeral but stable and cumulative at least in the medium run. The causes are ‘structural’ and result from the new Right’s ability to exploit the socio-economic crisis of the neo-liberal right governments and to denounce authoritarian and anti-national policies of the unelected EU oligarchy.
The new Right’s strength is in ‘opposition’. Their protests resonate while they are distant from the command centers of the capitalist economy and state.
Are they capable of moving from protest to power?
The metaphorical frying pan as "green capitalism" is what is suggested by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) report which insists that capitalist economies can solve the problem of climate destabilization with little cost. Dolack argues...
Green capitalism is destined to fail: You can’t keep doing the same thing and expect different results. We can’t shop our way out of global warming nor are there technological magic wands that will save us. There is no alternative to a dramatic change in the organization of the global economy and consumption patterns.
A recent study by researchers at NASA and the University of California, Irvine, has found that a section of the West Antarctic Ice Sheet is melting at an alarming rate and could raise global sea levels by up to four feet. Meanwhile, the Arctic is also showing the strain of global warming, with an ice-free Arctic summer predicted by 2016, according to research by the U.S. Navy. This research comes as the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration announced that April 2014 ranked as the hottest April on record, tying with April 2010. It also follows the recent release of the National Climate Assessment that says that signs of climate change are all around us.
With us to discuss why the melting polar ice caps could spell the end not just for penguins and polar bears but for mankind are our two guests.
Thursday, May 29, 2014
Americans, who are exposed only to our own nation’s propaganda, won’t know that Obama installed a fascist regime in Ukraine, but it’s an established historical fact, and it’s one known painfully well, first-hand, in southeastern Ukraine, no matter what America’s “reporters,” such as Tim Judah, say to blur or distract from it. The owners of America’s major “news” media don’t want us to know it — and they hire and fire such “reporters,” so that very few of us will (and so that even fewer of us will know why this was done).
Try to Contain Your Laughter: Prince Charles and Lady de Rothschild Team Up to Talk About ‘Inclusive Capitalism’
Now that the worldwide Occupy Wall Street protest movement has been beaten, pepper-sprayed, mass-arrested and hog-tied into submission; now that assorted financial luminaries have exhorted corporate media to stop giving air time to people calling bankers evil; it’s now safe for the 1 percent to take over the debate – or so the thinking goes in London.
Prince Charles, who lives in four mansions in England, Scotland and Wales, delivered the opening speech yesterday for a conference on “Inclusive Capitalism” hosted by Lady de Rothschild, wife of multi-billionaire Sir Evelyn Robert de Rothschild, in the heart of financial skulduggery, the City of London, Wall Street’s alter ego.
Dozens dead, morgues overflowing after siege turns one of Ukraine’s largest airports into a war zone
This is another example of what 5 billion dollars and 20 years of subversive activities under the guidance of the Empire's regime changers can wreck on a country like Ukraine.
The video provides details of what appears to be a CIA executed program in support of US government's stated policy to keep Syria bleeding. Apparently having given up the goal of removing the Assad regime and replacing it with a Western friendly government, the US Empire directors are intent on creating as much chaos in Syria as they can by using weapons designed to terrorize civilian populations. This, of course, begs the question: who are the real terrorists in today's world?
Biron bases most of his article on a longer report published recently by Action Aid International that found an "epidemic of 'land-grabbing'" to secure lands from small farmers (for example, see this) all over the world for Western corporations. The article focuses mainly on one program sponsored by the Group of Seven capitalist nations (Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, the United Kingdom and the United States) which are aided and abetted by the World Bank. They mask these efforts using Orwellian type ethical guidelines--entirely voluntary-- furnished by the UN's Food and Agriculture Organization.
Gerald Horne sees the colonists' revolt of 1776 not as a noble struggle for liberty and independence but as a counter-revolution, one waged by this nation's Founding Fathers to defend their right to enslave Africans. The white settlers rose up, argues Horne, in the face of growing evidence that London was moving toward abolition.
Wednesday, May 28, 2014
Hanieh makes a valuable contribution to understanding recent events in the Middle East by dissecting the differences within and between various members of the Western allied Gulf Cooperation Council and the US Empire.
Western interests in the region are now largely articulated through the Gulf states in both a political and an economic sense. This does not mean that there are no rivalries or differing perspectives between the Gulf and Western states, or within the Gulf itself, but these rivalries need to be situated within a framework of shared interests that recognizes that the Gulf’s location at the apex of regional hierarchies is a consequence of the same processes that have generated the conditions for mass revolts in the first place.
These dynamics can be seen clearly in Egypt and Syria. In both countries, uprisings against authoritarian regimes have similar roots — the dispossession and exclusion of the majority of the population as a result of neoliberal reform, and the enrichment of a tiny layer of elites closely connected to authoritarian regimes, overlaid by a global crisis that considerably deepened the polarization of wealth and power.
I hesitate to criticize a website which has frequently exposed the hypocrisy of the Obama administration, however I think it is necessary in order to attain a higher level of political consciousness.
First of all, the article does little to explain why Obama and his wife have supported Wal-Mart other than a brief reference to Wal-Mart's charitable donations in the Chicago area, the political base of Obama. On the other hand, there is frequent mention throughout the article about how Obama deceived working people and people of color. This is a favorite topic on this website, and I think it reflects an unconscious, but in fact a racist perspective that has so pervasively infected the minds of Americans. Let me explain.
Racism is defined as judging, or arriving at preconceived notions about, a person based solely on one's physical characteristics that are attributed to race. Race as a concept is itself very controversial in its meaning. For example, in the US the states legally defined an African-American in various ways by one's African ancestry. Such rules were enforced in legal cases, while in everyday life identification as an African-American was based on outward physical characteristics. Missing from this identification has always been the socialization of individuals. Thus racist concepts are literally only skin deep.
Such racism, of course, obscures the reality of an individual's behavior and beliefs which is a result of their socialization. This directly applies to Obama, and I believe that the directors of the ruling class cleverly groomed Obama for the presidency because of this confusion between racial characteristics and socialization.
Obama was mostly raised by white upper-middle class people, primarily by his grandmother who was a (white) banker in Hawaii. He was educated in an elite private school in Hawaii (Punahou School) and then on to Columbia and Harvard universities. He understandably identifies with the white power structure because he has been socialized entirely in white mainstream values. It is doubtful that he experienced much racism in Hawaii (and definitely not in his early years in Indonesia) given that it is such a multi-racial state, far more so than any other state in the union. I know that from my own experience living there for five years during which time Obama was in his high school years at Punahou H.S.
I remember well that this website endorsed Obama for President back in 2008 (I can't document this because they have no archives on their website), and I think that writers for this website cannot get over their own feelings of being betrayed by Obama by constantly harping on his betrayal. They endorsed him because he looked African-American which is racism, and not so much because of the deceptions he promoted--all Democratic candidates lie before elections.
Obama’s proposed troop reductions have nothing to do with a diminution of US military violence. On the contrary, the president is carrying out a redeployment of US military resources in accordance with American imperialism’s focus on its anti-Chinese “pivot to Asia,” its confrontation with Russia in Eastern Europe, and new neo-colonial operations in Africa, the Middle East and elsewhere.
Randall explains why insurance corporations have everything to gain and nothing to risk under the Affordable Care Act, and you can be certain that they will gain. Thus, a measure that most Americans have been suckered into believing was for their benefit, will actually serve the benefit of corporations (surprise, surprise!), with the result that ordinary Americans will continue to receive inadequate health care.
In this report we see an illustration of the effectiveness of ruling class's media in manipulating how people think about issues. Their media have essentially trained the minds of ordinary Americans to "disengage" whenever "climate change" is mentioned. The latter mild term was coined by their media to conceal the more dramatic and accurate term of "climate destabilization".
Tuesday, May 27, 2014
I think that this article reveals a mostly unrecognized consequence of the imperial ambitions of the US Empire directors. In their insane agenda to rule over all the earth, they are hollowing out their base in the home country. They are cutting every domestic expense that includes not only welfare, Social Security, and education, but roads, bridges, rail--the entire infrastructure of the US to build their ever more expensive and deadly weapons which they are using to destroy one country after another and threaten others.
With an army of deeply entrenched US-funded NGOs masquerading as human rights, press freedom, and pro-democracy advocates, the US has been busy subverting and attempting to overthrow indigenous institutions across Southeast Asia either in support of US proxy regimes already in power, or to pave way for disruptive “color revolutions” seeking to install them.
The idea is to align Southeast Asia, along with India and Pakistan, as well as Korea and Japan, into three united fronts to encircle and contain China.
Is this now to be India’s future? One that mirrors what we have seen in the US, Britain and elsewhere – an unmitigated corporate heist and increased state surveillance via the all pervasive Central Monitoring System to help dampen dissent from those at the sharp end of the full-frontal assault of fast-tracked neo-liberalism and cronyism – because history shows that whenever a state spies on its own people, this is usually the reason why.
Can we expect ever more industrial developments built with public money and strategic assets, such as energy sources, ports, airports and infrastructure support for agriculture to be sold off ?
Do people really believe India’s future lies in tying itself to a corrupt, moribund system that has so patently failed in the West and can now only sustain itself by plundering other countries via war or lop-sided ‘free trade’ agreements, which have little if anything to do with free trade?
Monday, May 26, 2014
Few articles that I have posted in the nearly five years of this website have contained so much pathos, courage, and love as does this post. Chelsea Manning and many others described in this article have acted from the very best virtues that humans possess. But, there are also villains in the form of military authorities who doubtlessly were pressured by ruling class directors to wreck vengeance upon someone who tried and succeeded in revealing to Americans the kind of war crimes that their masters committed and wanted concealed. In contrast to Manning and others, the military authorities exhibited some of the worst qualities of humans.
Referring to the book entitled The United States Vs. Pvt. Chelsea Manning by Clark Stoeckley, Tarrant writes:
Clark Stoeckley has created a powerful, chronological history of a massive American miscarriage of justice. He deserves tremendous credit, along with a relative handful of others, for showing up with his back straight day after day in the belly of the beast and bringing back a work that should have a place on the bookshelves of truth tellers and truth seekers everywhere. Do support OR Books‘ courageous decision to publish this book and purchase it directly from them or from an independent book seller carrying the title.
Courage is contagious. Chelsea Manning inspired Jeremy Hammond. And both of them inspire me. And those that attended Chelsea’s trial faithfully day in and day out, putting their lives and careers at risk to bear witness, were inspired and propelled forward by her example....
“At 2:08 am on May 25, 2014, at the southwestern combat front of the EZLN, I declare that the one known as Subcomandante Insurgente Marcos no longer exists,” he said in an enigmatic — as usual — communiqué in his first public appearance since 2009.
“So, now he is… gone? Like… gone for good?” my friends immediately started asking me.
Well… I don’t know. The Zapatistas, and Subcomandante Insurgente Marcos himself, have never ceased surprising us. However, what I do know is that their words, just like their actions, have always been a bit enigmatic and need deciphering.
That I will try to do with this article.
Meyssan uses his laser-like vision to see through the veils of hypocritical legalities constructed by capitalist ruling classes to hide their war crimes.
Laurent Fabius’ proposal to the International Criminal Court for crimes committed in Syria was rejected by the UN. Indeed, hidden behind the appearance of justice, the ICC is a tool of Western imperialism. Its procedure is grotesque, it does not hesitate to invent imaginary crimes to convict defendants and it participates in NATO propaganda operations. Yes, we want justice, and it must begin by judging Mr Fabius for his crimes in Syria.
Of course, all of what Avery writes is true. What must be understood is that the "rule of law" has very little to do with a world ruled by privileged elites. It is only window dressing they use to hide the ugliness of their use of force, or their threats to use it, in order to increase their wealth and power. Their privileged status is wholly dependent on the capitalist system which makes it possible for these people to live off the work of others, and in the process, to accumulate so much power over us. The system must be dismantled and a new system which supports egalitarian relationships must be created if humans wish to continue to exist in peace, or even exist at all.
In recent years, participation in NATO has made European countries accomplices in US efforts to achieve global hegemony by means of military force, in violation of international law, and especially in violation of the UN Charter, the Nuremberg Principles.
Sunday, May 25, 2014
The "Ralph Nader" illusion is a quintessential liberal illusion, and as such must be seen for what it really is.
Nader's goal is to reform our capitalist society, to have fettered capitalism instead of unfettered capitalism, to have capitalism with some protections for the working class such as single payer health care and a higher minimum wage. This goal will leave unchanged the root cause of our many problems.
The root cause is that our society is based on class inequality. It is based on the principle that there should be two very different classes of people.
Wolf gives us a history starting in the 1970s of methods used by the capitalist ruling class to gradually make it more convenient for them to use their vast wealth to fund candidates as well as other means of using their money to influence the outcome of elections. However, the entire history of the US can be seen as a period in which all kinds of legal and other maneuvers were used to go around any democratic impediments to use wealth to pursue their interests. Their success in implementing these methods since the beginning of the US corresponds well with the expansion of voting rights from a narrow segment of male property owners to nearly all citizens. The refinement of such methods along with the indoctrination agencies of media and education made universal suffrage no longer a threat to capitalist interests.
If you only consult Wikipedia on this matter, you will learn that this ruling class dominance over the political process goes all the way back to 1819 when the ruling class's Supreme Court decided that corporations, which created huge concentrations of wealth and power, could assume some of the same rights as natural persons. Remember that corporations were originally granted rights only on an ad hoc basis, but the 1819 decision opened the door for their rights to be conflated with the rights of individual citizens. Thus began the process of sliding down the slippery slope where we have landed today. Over the years this has been expanded to include all of the rights under the Constitution up to the very recent McCutcheon decision by the Supreme Court to further liberalize direct corporate contributions to political candidates.
The history of the US provides an excellent illustration of a country founded on egalitarian political principles that disguised the real nature of power that ownership of property gave to one small section of citizens who became a ruling class. The political principles were promulgated precisely to disguise this power. All institutions of society were used to reinforce these delusions of "democracy" to prevent ordinary people from seeing the hoax and to accept this order of rule.
American readers can ignore the first paragraph which was written for the British audience.
The book...leaves the reader with the clear and distinct impression that the next few decades will decide the fate of the human race. Blacker ominously warns us that the current global hegemony of the capitalist order presents most of our species with a grim choice: ‘we are subject to the harsh survivalist disjunction - we will have to kill it before it kills us’.
.... His pessimism could have the effect of disabling an activist response to the challenges of our era, but it also serves as a useful antidote to the unthinking optimism that has sometimes blighted the rhetoric of the left in previous eras. Blacker provides a salutary warning that we may not have experienced the worst that capitalism can throw at us: ‘they could lead us down into something backwardly atavistic like neo-feudalism or something new or worse’.
Bernhard cites an article from Brookings Institute, a major ruling class think tank, to support his thesis that the Empire's acquisition of Ukraine is a failed project.
Two month later this truth finally dawns to the mediocre thinkers in those "western" misnomed tanks. The Brookings Institute, which in general supports Obama policies, finally admits that a Ukraine without Russia is impossible and therefore cooperation with Russia on Ukraine is the Only viable way forward.