We’ve lived so long under the spell of hierarchy—from god-kings to feudal lords to party bosses—that only recently have we awakened to see not only that “regular” citizens have the capacity for self-governance, but that without their engagement our huge global crises cannot be addressed. The changes needed for human society simply to survive, let alone thrive, are so profound that the only way we will move toward them is if we ourselves, regular citizens, feel meaningful ownership of solutions through direct engagement. Our problems are too big, interrelated, and pervasive to yield to directives from on high.
—Frances Moore Lappé, excerpt from Time for Progressives to Grow Up

Saturday, June 14, 2014

Capitalism’s Bullets in Latin America

Click here to access article by Benjamin Dangl from CounterPunch.
Capitalism, empire and 21st century colonialism come from afar and descend on their victims in Latin America. But these forces are also in the tear gas canisters that Brazil’s security forces use at the World Cup, in the state that extracts natural resources on indigenous territory, and in the free trade deals signed in blood.
Dangl surveys the current scene in Latin America to reveal the not-so-hidden hand of capitalism and its agents wrecking havoc on the people and the environment. 

Children given lifelong ban on talking about fracking

Click here to access article by Suzanne Goldenberg from The Guardian.

Goldenberg reports on a "legal" settlement of a lawsuit initiated by the Hallowich family against the Range Resources Corp, a leading oil and gas driller. Their lawsuit which was settled in the family's favor has raised fundamental questions about freedom of speech in this Pennsylvania community and beyond. What few Americans realize is that whenever Constitutional guarantees clash with capitalist interests, the former will always be ignored.
The sweeping gag order was imposed under a $750,000 settlement between the Hallowich family and Range Resources Corp, a leading oil and gas driller. It provoked outrage on Monday among environmental campaigners and free speech advocates.

How Bill Gates pulled off the swift Common Core revolution

Click here to access article by Lyndsey Layton from The Washington Post.

Layton's rather comprehensive report offers an illustration of how one plutocrat couple can have a major impact on the entire country. The Gates couple pushed their pet, unresearched educational theory onto most of the country using huge amounts of their own money. They even influenced the Obama administration to support it. Their theory, called Common Core, is a bonanza for educational software businesses, but the adherents claim that this is only incidental.
“You had dozens of states adopting before the standards even existed, with little or no discussion, coverage or controversy,” said Frederick Hess of the American Enterprise Institute, which has received $4 million from the Gates Foundation since 2007 to study education policy, including the Common Core. “People weren’t paying attention. We were in the middle of an economic meltdown and the health-care fight, and states saw a chance to have a crack at a couple of million bucks if they made some promises.”
The decision by the Gates Foundation to simultaneously pay for the standards and their promotion is a departure from the way philanthropies typically operate, said Sarah Reckhow, an expert in philanthropy and education policy at Michigan State University.
“Usually, there’s a pilot test — something is tried on a small scale, outside researchers see if it works, and then it’s promoted on a broader scale,” Reckhow said. “That didn’t happen with the Common Core. Instead, they aligned the research with the advocacy. . . . At the end of the day, it’s going to be the states and local districts that pay for this.”

NSA Whistleblower: Snowden Never Had Access to the JUICIEST Documents … Far More Damning

Click here to access article from George Washington's Blog.
NSA whistleblower Russel Tice was a key source in the 2005 New York Times report that blew the lid off the Bush administration’s use of warrantless wiretapping.
Tice told PBS and other media that the NSA is spying on – and blackmailing – top government officials and military officers, including Supreme Court Justices, highly-ranked generals, Colin Powell and other State Department personnel, and many other top officials....
This blogger provides two videos and a lot of other valuable information about a lessor known NSA whistleblower who defied his bosses to reveal widespread agency spying on many high government officials.

War Gear Flows to Police Departments

Click here to access article by Matt Apuzzo from the NY Times (It appears that one can access this article without registration.)
During the Obama administration, according to Pentagon data, police departments have received tens of thousands of machine guns; nearly 200,000 ammunition magazines; thousands of pieces of camouflage and night-vision equipment; and hundreds of silencers, armored cars and aircraft.
The equipment has been added to the armories of police departments that already look and act like military units. Police SWAT teams are now deployed tens of thousands of times each year, increasingly for routine jobs. Masked, heavily armed police officers in Louisiana raided a nightclub in 2006 as part of a liquor inspection. In Florida in 2010, officers in SWAT gear and with guns drawn carried out raids on barbershops that mostly led only to charges of “barbering without a license.”
I recall well in the Fall of 2011 the shocked reaction by Occupy activists near where I live in Bellingham, WA, when local police showed up in full swat gear to clear their small protest encampment. Bellingham is a typical small college town whose students, if they have any political orientation at all, have a mostly benign liberal opposition to some government policies. 

I have little doubt that such police responses are coordinated nationwide, and are designed to intimidate people, thereby to discourage any overt opposition to government policies. The political operatives of the One Percent want to inculcate the idea into the minds of the 99 Percent that there is no alternative to their rule and policies, and they will not tolerate any significant opposition.

What may be of even more significance is how this major publication of the ruling One Percent publishes this material which could in the minds of many suggest a growing militarized police state. This NY Times reporter provides all kinds of explanations that this development has just sort of happened accidentally.
The Pentagon program does not push equipment onto local departments. The pace of transfers depends on how much unneeded equipment the military has, and how much the police request. Equipment that goes unclaimed typically is destroyed. So police chiefs say their choice is often easy: Ask for free equipment that would otherwise be scrapped, or look for money in their budgets to prepare for an unlikely scenario. Most people understand, police officers say.
Thus, I argue that the article was designed to allay well-founded fears about a growing police state among American citizens. 

Good, bad, and ugly elections via White House suds 'n duds laundry operations

Click here to access article by Joseph K. Winter from The Spoof.

Ruling class media directors have had to work double time to insure that their subjects hold the right views about recent elections across the world. This writer explains how they do it: they use high quality detergents to remove inconvenient factual stains from many elections.

Friday, June 13, 2014

NATO’s Terror Hordes in Iraq a Pretext for Syria Invasion

Click here to access article by Tony Cartalucci from New Eastern Outlook.
Reading Western headlines, two fact-deficient narratives have begun gaining traction. The first is that this constitutes a “failure” of US policy in the Middle East, an alibi as to how the US and its NATO partners should in no way be seen as complicit in the current coordinated, massive, immensely funded and heavily armed terror blitzkrieg toward Baghdad. The second is how ISIS appears to have “sprung” from the sand dunes and date trees as a nearly professional military traveling in convoys of matching Toyota trucks without explanation.
In actuality, ISIS is the product of a joint NATO-GCC conspiracy stretching back as far as 2007 where US-Saudi policymakers sought to ignite a region-wide sectarian war to purge the Middle East of Iran’s arch of influence stretching from its borders, across Syria and Iraq, and as far west as Lebanon and the coast of the Mediterranean. ISIS has been harbored, trained, armed, and extensively funded by a coalition of NATO and Persian Gulf states....

Still in Bed

Click here to access article by Elliott Colla from Jadaliyya.
...it is not difficult to trace a circle of literary-minded assertions about the humanism of the US war in Iraq, emanating from the Department of Defense and NEA, as well as high-brow cultural and literary organizations, publishing houses and corporate media. It is not entirely an exaggeration to say that a military-literary complex has emerged in recent years.
Like embedded journalism, ... literary works depict the invasion and occupation of Iraq in a very particular and narrow way, that is, as an exclusively American event.

The Assault on Teachers Unions

Click here to access article by David Macaray from RINF.
Although I can understand the relentless anti-union crusade being waged by free market fundamentalists who wish to: (1) weaken the American labor movement, and (2) do away with the public school system (because there are hundreds of millions of dollars to be made by “privatizing” education), I am stunned by the public’s willingness to accept what is, on its face, a monumentally stupid argument.

War on Cornfield Pest Sparks Clash Over Insecticide

Click here to access article by Jack Kaskey from Bloomberg.
Pesticide use is surging among U.S. corn farmers who are worried that some insects have become resistant to genetically modified versions of the crop.
When news like this gets reported by a major Wall Street publishing company, you know things are getting serious. 

Food Lobby Colossus Sues Vermont over GMO 'Right to Know'

Click here to access article by Jon Queally from Common Dreams.

It appears that agri-business and food corporations are planning to warn other cash-strapped states not to pass such laws or else...or else they will face costly lawsuits from cash-rich corporations in courts whose judges were appointed to serve corporate interests.
But Ronnie Cummins, executive director of the Organic Consumers Association, defended the Vermont law and said the industry lawsuit was simply an example of large corporate interests trying to intimidate other states who are now considering labeling laws of their own.
As Cummins told the Burlington Free Press: "Every U.S. citizen should be concerned when a multi-billion dollar corporate lobbying group sues in federal court to overturn a state's right to govern for the health and safety of its citizens."

Thursday, June 12, 2014

So You Want A Thatcherite Revolution? Free Trade, Corporate Plunder And The War On Working People

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

This Britisher who resides in India looks at the recent election of a neoliberal Prime Minister as a part of the radical transformation of capitalism from a nation-based operation to a global operation. To accomplish this, our neoliberal masters must destroy any national restrictions on their activities while preserving borders only to contain and control working people. While the global capitalist elite are fully conscious of this project, the vast majority of the world's populations have little idea of what is going on. The latter are kept in ignorance through massive media campaigns of disinformation and distractions as the elites engage in secret negotiations. Meanwhile they are burdened with austerity policies, unemployment, and debt; and, when necessary, whipped into submission by military and police violence.
The increasing global takeover of agriculture by powerful agribusiness, the selling off of industrial developments built with public money and strategic assets, such as energy sources, ports and airports, and secretive corporate-driven trade agreements represent a massive corporate heist of wealth and power across the world. Through their financial institutions and corporate entities, the world’s super rich regard ‘nations’ as population holding centres to be exploited whereby people are stripped of control of their livelihoods for personal gain. Whether it concerns rich oligarchs in the US or India’s billionaire business men, corporate profits and personal gain trump any notion of the ‘national interest’.

Teachers Sound Alarm over 'Anti-Public Education' Ruling

Click here to access article by Sarah Lazare from Common Dreams.

Lazare reports on a court decision in California that removes legal restrictions on firing teachers in public schools.
In a 16-page decision, Treu overturned key workplace safeguards and due process rights for teachers, including seniority, tenure, and other job protections. He backed the plaintiff's argument that laws protecting tenure and seniority are discriminatory because they keep, in his words, "grossly ineffective teachers" in classrooms that disproportionately serve "low-income and minority students."
Yet, Joshua Pechthalt, president of the California Federation of Teachers, declared in a statement, “Rather than provide resources or working to create positive environments for students and teachers, this suit asserts that taking away rights from teachers will somehow help students. This suit is not pro-student. It is fundamentally anti-public education, scapegoating teachers for problems originating in underfunding, poverty, and economic inequality.”
And we learn who was behind the lawsuit which used students as a battering ram for those ruling class interests that want to streamline the training of students to better serve the needs of capitalist enterprises. 
The lawsuit, Vergara v. State of California, was brought by nine public school students who were heavily backed by the organization Students Matter, which was founded by Silicon Valley millionaire David Welch.
Welch, whose organization is associated with prominent corporate education reformers, bankrolled a team of lawyers to represent the plaintiffs and worked with a corporate PR firm to garner public support for the challenge. 

The Price of the World Cup

Click here if you wish to access the source posting of an excellent 29:00m video and brief introduction by Don Quijones on his blog Raging Bull-Shit. (A British blogger residing in Spain)
On the eve of the world’s biggest sporting circus, here’s Mikkel Keldof’s hard-hitting documentary The Price of the World Cup. The film offers a slice of the other reality in Brazil, the reality that neither FIFA nor the Brazilian authorities want global viewers — whether football fans or not — to see.

I wonder why Pepe Escobar, an outstanding, independent Brazilian journalist, has never reported on such realities found in his home country (I've never found any) as he has for many other parts of the world. I'm not suggesting hypocrisy on his part. Journalists all over the world are under tremendous political pressure to write material that does not threaten ruling classes, and many are killed that refuse to comply.

Open Road Media Announces Creation of Forbidden Bookshelf

Click here to access article by Jack from Open Road Integrated Media.
Open Road Media announced today Forbidden Bookshelf, a series of books curated by Professor Mark Crispin Miller of New York University. Forbidden Bookshelf titles fill in the blanks of America’s repressed history by resurrecting books that focused on issues and events that are too often left in the dark, including abortion, organized crime, the CIA, and financial inequality.
From my experience I have seen a number of ways that books are censored in the US. Often printing companies refuse to print books they know will be seen as highly offensive to the core directors of our ruling class, or succumb to pressure from various authorities not to print a book. 

In the past many authors were forced to publish their own books or publish through very small, obscure, sometimes foreign publishing firms: authors such as Upton Sinclair, L. Fletcher Prouty, journalists like George Seldes, and military people like General Smedley ButlerSuch authors will discover that after they've succeeded in getting the book published that they likely won't be reviewed anywhere in media of any size or significance, or if they are, the books will be smeared, and thus will remain largely unread. Then such books go out of print for lack of sales. Of course, such books rarely make it into educational institutions and libraries.

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Why Are Americans So Apathetic? (And what can be done about it?)

Click here if you wish to access the original posting of this video discussion on The Corbett Report.

The issue posed by the title has been bothering me lately. On Saturday, June 7th I wrote this as a part of a commentary in one post:
Here in the US I sometimes feel that most of my fellow Americans are living in some kind of artificial, parallel universe of information and understanding. I find it hard to carry on a serious conversation with them about international affairs. What I usually get are regurgitated versions of sound-bytes propagated by corporate media that have little to do with reality, or turns reality on its head always in support of US Empire policies.

I try to be understanding by considering that most Americans are struggling to survive, and often with the burdens of overwhelming debts. They don't have the time to find alternative, reliable sources of information. But, to my astonishment, when I try to help them find such sources, they react with very strong resistance. It's not an angry form of reaction because my approach is always very gentle. It appears that they looked at my suggested articles or websites, but then they always make excuses about not having time to really read the material. It's as if I were challenging their religious beliefs! (I think they experience what mental health professionals refer to as "cognitive dissonance".) Such is the power of the Empire's propaganda and their ubiquitous indoctrination agencies.
So this morning when I saw these four figures associated with Boiling Frogs website discussing the topic, I was very interested. It's a lengthy one hour and 17 minute discussion about a very important question. Also, in the original post there are some very useful links to resources related to this topic.

It's simple. If we can't change our economic system, our number's up

Click here to access article by George Monbiot from The Guardian.
The inescapable failure of a society built upon growth and its destruction of the Earth's living systems are the overwhelming facts of our existence. As a result, they are mentioned almost nowhere. They are the 21st century's great taboo, the subjects guaranteed to alienate your friends and neighbours. We live as if trapped inside a Sunday supplement: obsessed with fame, fashion and the three dreary staples of middle-class conversation: recipes, renovations and resorts. Anything but the topic that demands our attention.
Statements of the bleeding obvious, the outcomes of basic arithmetic, are treated as exotic and unpardonable distractions, while the impossible proposition by which we live is regarded as so sane and normal and unremarkable that it isn't worthy of mention. That's how you measure the depth of this problem: by our inability even to discuss it.
While the headline indicates that the economic system is the problem, Monbiot only uses the word "capitalism" once, and the mention is in the form of a denial that capitalism is responsible!
It was neither capitalism nor communism that made possible the progress and pathologies (total war, the unprecedented concentration of global wealth, planetary destruction) of the modern age. It was coal, followed by oil and gas.
Such twisted logic is an illustration of the difficulty journalists have in writing for leading left-wing capitalist media companies.

John Oliver: “Football is an Organized Religion and FIFA Is It’s Church”

Click here to access article by Don Quijones who posts on his blog Raging Bull-Shit a 13:13m video featuring a popular British comic who provides a humorous and satirical exposé of capitalist exploitation of soccer/football .

Wherever there is money to be made, capitalists will be there to make it. Having discovered the religious-like popularity among much of the world's population for this sport, they could not resist moving in to exploit it. Brazilian laws that stood in their way were easy targets for those who rule most of the world.

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

“The Future is Too Good to Waste on Lies”: Bowe Bergdahl’s Moral Odyssey

Click here to access article by William N. Grigg from Pro Libertate.

I spend a lot of time surveying articles from independent sources and, thus, avoid much of the crap put out in mainstream media. So, I am catching up a bit on the popular controversy generated by the deal the US government made with the people of Afghanistan, the Taliban, who are fighting the occupation of their country by the forces of the Empire. This controversy, unlike so much trivia that our corporations spew on the American people, is real. It has generated a lot of hateful responses, even death threats against the Bergdahl family in Idaho, by people who have been thoroughly indoctrinated by the Empire's propaganda machinery. It was encouraging for me to read this article from another Idahoan who has not succumbed to this propaganda.
Trying to find their footing amid a gale-force outpouring of largely manufactured outrage, officials in Hailey, Idaho canceled their long-planned homecoming for Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl. They were understandably intimidated by the prospect of dealing with thousands of protesters who planned to besiege the tiny central Idaho town to demand the blood of a young man they now regard to be a deserter, and a father they consider a terrorist sympathizer.
To understand the kind of welcome the War Party has been preparing for Bowe and his family, it’s useful to consider the treatment given to the family of World War I-era conscientious objector John Witmer.
Also, I recommend this posting from Common Dreams entitled "An Impossible Mission: Bob Bergdahl Explores the Darkening of the American Soul", particularly the 11:46m video on Bergdahl's father who has had to grapple with all the issues related to his son's five year captivity. 

An African Holocaust - 20th Anniversary of Genocide Perpetrated by the 1 Percent

Click here to access article and an excellent 6:35m video by Anna May Simone (Director), award-winning journalists Keith Harmon Snow (Executive Producer) and Ann Garrison posted at Indiegogo (San Francisco, California). 

The real story of the so-called Rwandan "massacre", which began in 1990, is finally getting out over the web thanks to the above people and Christopher Black, a Canadian lawyer who risked everything and won a hard fought legal battle that essentially refuted the myths propagated by Western media about the "massacre" at the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda. Of course, this real story will never see the light of day in Western ruling class media.

The Rwandan "massacre" was manufactured by Western ruling class propagandists to hide US war crimes committed against Africans so that Western corporations could gain cheap access to their huge mineral resources, resources vital to the manufacture of the many hand-held electronic gadgets that we use everyday. 

Voice of Access: The People’s Foundation

Click here to access article by Andrew Gavin Marshall from his blog, and a reproduction of a print article in The Spanda Journal.

In the process of making a pitch for a new foundation, The People's Foundation, that is in the early stages of development, Marshall provides us with an excellent understanding of the role that major foundations such as the Rockefeller, Ford, and Carnegie Foundations play in our society and in much of the world. These foundations are sponsored by the highest levels of the capitalist elites who use their huge wealth resources in order to preserve the goose of capitalism which lays their golden eggs of power and wealth. The lengthy article reveals so many insights about this insidious form of control over our minds and imagination. 
Changes in technology and communication were facilitating the spread of more information to more people than ever before, and the concept of ‘the public’ – and specifically, how to manipulate the public – moved to the forefront of elite intellectual discussion. It was an era that gave birth to the modern university, the advertising and public relations industries, the consumer society, and the modern philanthropic foundations.
Unfortunately, the article never makes any explicit mention of what is informing every paragraph of the essay: the very system of capitalism which the above foundations are protecting and promoting. However, given the valuable insights with which Marshall always provides us, I am not leveling this as a major criticism--merely pointing it out. We all, at times, must make some compromises with the huge power of our ruling class, and one of the red lines that must not be crossed in their academic institutions is criticism of the system upon which this ruling class's power and wealth depends. Because Marshall is well connected with intellectuals who are mostly located in academic institutions, he, in making this pitch, probably did not want to provoke unnecessary opposition to his project at this early stage of development.

Monday, June 9, 2014

Counter-power as common power: beyond horizontalism

Click here to access article by "Not An Alternative", a collective based in Brooklyn NY, posted on Reflections on a Revolution.

Although I've only had time to read half of the article (before my noon deadline), it looks to be an exceptional critique of the Occupy Movement's creation of general assemblies in which movement organizers attempted to introduce a direct form of democracy. Following the critique is a 19:04m video in which Not An Alternative presented a report on the Media, Communication, Outreach panel at the Global Uprisings Conference in Amsterdam, (November 2013) 

US Capitalism on Heat again for War

Click here to access article by Finian Cunningham from Strategic Culture Foundation.
When capitalism is in crisis, war is always an imminent danger. History shows us this to be case. The two biggest conflagrations ever, the First and Second World Wars – claiming total deaths of around 80 million – were both presaged by economic collapses in the capitalist system.
This is what makes the present juncture in international relations so disturbing.
Although I have a high regard for Cunningham's essays, what I don't like about many of them is the lack of links in the articles that document what he alleges. This is particularly true of this article in which he alleges that the Pentagon is building "model towns" as army training facilities based on some vague reference to Britain’s Daily Telegraph. He also stated that "Amnesty International has calculated that the number of vacant homes in the US is five times the number of homeless people." I was able to track down the latter reference here, but I unsuccessfully failed to find a supporting link at the Daily Telegraph regarding the much more sensational claim about the Pentagon's "model towns". 

Omidyar and the Oligarch’s Code: Enabling Extremism, Monetizing Dissent

Click here to access article by Chris Floyd from his blog Empire Burlesque.

Referring to American billionaire Pierre Omidyar, Floyd writes:
 A key element in this monetization of human misery on the part of Omidyar and his cronies is the privatization of state services aimed at providing some measure of support, opportunity and social justice for ordinary people. In country after country, our neoliberal extremists are pushing policies to turn every aspect of human community into profitable enterprises under corporate control.
To do this, of course, one must also “monetize” democracy itself. Thus, as Ames and others have pointed out, Omidyar has also been active in “pro-democracy” NGOs and other organizations in foreign countries, working closely with Washington to bring down regimes considered insufficiently open to the strip-mining of national wealth and resources by Western elites. The aim, as in Ukraine, where Omidyar’s partnership with government was particularly active, is to replace the regimes with technocrats willing to stick the shock doctrine cattle prod to their own people.

European Central Bank cuts interest rate below zero

Click here to access article by Stefan Steinberg from World Socialist Web Site.

It appears that our global capitalist masters governing the Empire are relying mostly on one solution to the nearly worldwide economic collapse they have caused: create money and give it to themselves.
...with all the measures introduced by the world’s central banks since the crisis, the latest rate cuts by the ECB will do nothing to stimulate genuine economic growth. Instead, as was shown by the stock market rally Thursday, the ECB will only serve to fuel new speculative bubbles while further enriching the biggest banks and the millionaires and billionaires that control them.

Scientists vindicate 'Limits to Growth' – urge investment in 'circular economy'

Click here to access article by Nafeez Ahmed from The Guardian.
...recent scientific reviews confirm that the original report's projections in its 'base scenario' remain robust. In 2008, Australia's federal government scientific research agency CSIRO concluded that The Limits to Growth forecast of potential "global ecological and economic collapse coming up in the middle of the 21st Century" due to convergence of "peak oil, climate change, and food and water security", is "on-track." Actual current trends in these areas "resonate strongly with the overshoot and collapse displayed in the book's 'business-as-usual scenario.'"
Ahmed is limited by employment in a capitalist news organization to express only vague hints at the real solution in order to disguise what he knows is really needed--revolution:
A fundamental reorganisation of the way societies produce, manage and consume resources could support a new high-technology civilisation, ... and with all that, very different types of social structures.

Sunday, June 8, 2014

The Con-Artist Wing of the Democratic Party

Click here to access article by Matt Stoller from Vice.

Stoller reviews a recently published book by Tim Geithner entitled Stress Test: Reflections on Financial Crises; and in his review compares many of Geithner's claims with known facts to find many direct lies, lies of omission, and misleading statements. This lengthy review offers a rich source of information on Geithner as an example of what I often refer to as an Empire director. 

However, Stoller in his myopic upper-middle class viewpoint clearly misses the significance of Geithner's rapid rise to power and the crucial role that inner layers of power in the US Empire play in selecting their directors. Stoller can only frame Geithner as a "con-artist" for the Democratic party. Still, he offers so many facts that provide a much broader view of how power is exercised in the US and its empire to serve a tiny elite located in Wall Street and the most powerful financial institutions. 

Stoller can't seem to tie the facts together to see that Geithner's career was not accidentally facilitated by having intimate connections to powerful figures such as Henry Kissinger and billionaire Pete Peterson. Also, it's clear that his father's connections, like Obama's, with the powerful Ford Foundation allowed him to be seen as a loyal and trusted member of the inner-most layers of the ruling capitalist class. If Stoller could have seen this larger view, there wouldn't have been any mystery as to the rise of Geithner to the most powerful positions.
...there’s the mystery of how he managed to climb up the career ladder so quickly. He never really explains how this happens. He wasn’t a good student. He notes, as a grad student, that he mostly played pool. “During my orals, when one professor asked which economics journals I read, I replied that I had never read any. Seriously? Yes, seriously. But not long after we returned from our honeymoon in France, Henry Kissinger’s international consulting firm hired me as an Asia analyst; my dean at SAIS had recommended me to Brent Scowcroft, one of Kissinger’s partners.”
I’m sorry, but what? How does this just happen? And it goes on. One day, when Geithner was a junior Treasury civil servant, Treasury Secretary Lloyd Bentsen just called him out of the blue to ask his advice on a matter about which he knew nothing. Why? He doesn’t say—he’s just puzzled. Later on, he advances in Treasury without any real credentials in a department where a law degree or economics PhD is essential. Even Alan Greenspan eventually expressed surprise; he had just assumed Geithner had a doctorate. Power just always seemed to flow to Geithner, and he never says why. He knows why, of course—he’s an exceptional political climber. He just doesn’t say who was grooming him, why he ended up where he ended up, and what he paid to get there. It’s clear he had ideas about how the world should work, but he pretends otherwise.

Sugar-Coated Subjugation: Lie Back And Swallow

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

By only watching foreign movies in which the characters mention American movie stars, I am occasionally reminded of the powerful influence that American movies have had on colonizing the minds of people over much of the world. Hollywood has not only been a source of entertainment for Americans, but has been a powerful instrument to infect the minds of people all over the world with American values of consumption founded on the commodification of everything. As such Hollywood has functioned like religious missionaries to indoctrinate people with the values of the colonial powers, the leading capitalist nations, to prepare them for the invasion of their homelands by corporations seeking to exploit their markets, their cheap labor, and their resources.

Britisher Todhunter describes the end process in India where he resides. The dominant culture of India now reflects the same culture as found in the US. Indians are rapidly accommodating themselves to the neoliberal agenda as recently manifested by the election of a neoliberal candidate for prime minister.
...the underlying aim of celebrity product endorsement is to bind the public to a product and by implication to the company behind it and ultimately the ideology of the system, so-called economic neo-liberalism. Positive notions about ‘individual freedom’ (via consuming) and the market constituting the best method for supplying human needs are being constantly and implicitly reinforced. Today, this is what the celebrity is ultimately endorsing. This is what they are selling their souls for.

EU Gets Ready To Open Canadian Tar Sands Floodgate

Click here to access article by Sarah Lazare from Common Dreams.

As purveyors of the world's dirtiest form of fossil fuels, the directors of the capitalist Empire continue on their merry way to undermine the planet's ecosystem that supports human and other life forms. It is likely that this latest move will contribute to the US Empire's strategy to make Europe independent of Russian energy; and thus, attempt to weaken a nation that refuses to surrender its independence to the Empire. 

This is only the latest inter-capitalist-gang effort to achieve dominance in the world. The 20th century saw world wars from which the Anglo-American Empire emerged victorious. We can only look forward to more wars and planetary destruction if we, the great majority, continue to remain passive spectators.
Both the Financial Times and Reuters reported Thursday that the EU is likely to weaken the language of the not-yet-implemented plan by scrapping a requirement that bitumen—oil extracted from tar sands—be labeled as high-emissions diesel. The higher rating would have discouraged, but not prevented, imports.

Scientists: Tests prove fracking to blame for flaming Parker County wells [Texas]

Click here if you wish to access the transcript of video by Brett Shipp from WFAA TV station in Dallas.

From KHOU TV station in Texas view a dramatic 5:25m video showing flaming water from a well near a fracking operation.
For the past two years, News 8 has aired a series of stories of flames shooting from water wells in Parker County. Dangerous levels of methane gas somehow found its way into the water supply.

Lest we forget: Our present leaders can derive inspiration from other great American leaders.

The piece is entirely reproduced from a section extracted from the latest Anti-Empire Report by William Blum.

Thanks to audio recordings found in Nixon's White House office, we are privy to how our ruling class selected leaders really converse when considering actions which are, in actuality, the most extreme, unprecedented war crimes in history. There is no reason to believe that the existing US administration is any different.
White House tape recordings, April 25, 1972 
President Nixon: How many did we kill in Laos? 
National Security Adviser Henry Kissinger: In the Laotian thing, we killed about ten, fifteen [thousand] …
Nixon: See, the attack in the North [Vietnam] that we have in mind … power plants, whatever’s left – POL [petroleum], the docks … And, I still think we ought to take the dikes out now. Will that drown people?
Kissinger: About two hundred thousand people.
Nixon: No, no, no … I’d rather use the nuclear bomb. Have you got that, Henry?
Kissinger: That, I think, would just be too much.
Nixon: The nuclear bomb, does that bother you? … I just want you to think big, Henry, for Christsakes.
May 2, 1972:
Nixon: America is not defeated. We must not lose in Vietnam. … The surgical operation theory is all right, but I want that place bombed to smithereens. If we draw the sword, we’re gonna bomb those bastards all over the place. Let it fly, let it fly.

“Every ten years or so, the United States needs to pick up some small crappy little country and throw it against the wall, just to show the world we mean business.” – Michael Ledeen, former Defense Department consultant and holder of the Freedom Chair at the American Enterprise Institute