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, July 5, 2014

Free Is A Lie

Click here if you wish to access directly the YouTube 32:34m video presentation of a talk given by Indie Phone founder and lead designer, Aral Balkan.

Balkan argues that Google, Facebook, and other corporations are just following their business model (a capitalist plan for profitability) by offering "free" services. But he also makes clear that by offering "free services" that you are essentially a quarry that is being mined for data to be sold to whoever. It is a con (confidence trick) to obtain data from you to be sold in the data market. They have discovered that your private information is just another commodity that is highly profitable--especially with government being one of the biggest customers. 

It appears that the people at Independent Technology realize that without privacy, we do not have civil rights; and they are determined to develop "beautifully designed and easy to use free and open consumer products that empower people to own their own tools and data."
It's time for a design revolution in open technology. Companies like Google and Facebook that dominate the Internet promise us free services in exchange for the right to watch and study us; to mine and farm us. Like quarries, like livestock, we are natural resources to be exploited in a brave new digital world of corporate surveillance that threatens our most fundamental freedoms. 
There are open alternatives but they are too difficult for most of us to use.
It is time to bring design thinking to open source and build beautiful, seamless open consumer products that are easy to use and which respect our fundamental freedoms.

And Our Readers Spoke!

Click here to access article by Andre Vltchek from CounterPunch.
One month ago, I asked readers, “How should we write and fight?” in the essay bearing the same name.
I posed several questions:
“Why are the streets of New York, Washington D.C., London and Paris so orderly, so quiet?”
Are we – opposition investigative journalists, philosophers and documentary filmmakers – doing such a terrible job? Are we not providing the North American and European public with enough information, enough proof about the monstrous state of the world? Enough so they – the citizens of the Empire – finally get thoroughly pissed off, detach their backsides from their couches and chairs, and flood the capitals and business centers with their bodies, demanding change, demanding the end to atrocities that are being committed all over the world… the end of this imperialist and neo-con madness?”
In the essay I posed a set of questions: not rhetorical but real. 
And people replied.

Friday, July 4, 2014

Astroturf kingpin deploys front groups to support drilling

Click here to access article by Rob Galbraith from LittleSis. (I just discovered this website this morning and I am very impressed. The producers of the website require a free subscription which I urge all of the followers of my website/blog to do, and they invite editor-volunteers to help them produce their website. We simply must support such websites in any way we can.)

This report reveals the use of ruling class ideological networks that engage in an integrated, ideological attack on any public resistance to shale fracking.
Last week, the Salt Lake Tribune ran an op-ed entitled “‘Bean-counting bureaucrats’ at BLM are locking up Utah’s future,” advocating the opening of federally owned lands to oil and gas drilling. The column, essentially the same as an op-ed that ran a week earlier in the Las Vegas Review-Journal, relies on a report by Timothy Considine, a University of Wyoming economics professor whose work we have profiled in depth in our reporting on the “frackademia” phenomenon. That report was funded by the Interstate Policy Alliance, a project of the corporate PR firm Berman and Company which has created myriad front groups to advocate the interests of the tobacco, food, and alcohol industries and to attack unions, animal rights, and environmental regulations. ....
In their foray into the fracking debate, Berman and Company seems to have deployed a vertically integrated astroturf campaign wherein the firm funded research from a notorious pro-fracking academic through one of its fronts and then deployed another front to cite the research in various newspapers in the Rocky Mountain region. [my emphasis]

The Dogs are Eating Them Now: Our War in Afghanistan

Click here to access article by Helen Redmond from CounterFire (Britain).

The dramatic title of the article refers to an actual book title by a former journalist at The Globe and Mail, a major Canadian newspaper.
A slew of new books by an international crew of journalists are being churned out to explain the complete failure of America’s thirteen-year long, $753 billion dollar war and occupation of Afghanistan.
The vast majority of these books share a similar template and selective amnesia. These journalists believe Afghanistan was ‘the good war’, the Taliban had to be overthrown, al-Qaeda evicted, that Pakistan and poppy are intractable problems, the war was to bring democracy and President Karzai is crazy. Then, after cheerleading and providing cover for the war, occupation and troop surges, they admit that it all went horribly wrong. But after a decade of ‘missteps’ and ‘folly’, these ‘objective’ journalists declare that Nato troops must stay in Afghanistan to ‘repair and mitigate the damage’.

How the Quest for Mineral Wealth Is Plundering the Planet

Click here if you wish to directly access the posting of this 8:58m video from The Club of Rome website. 

The Club of Rome originally brought the world's attention in a 1972 report entitled "Limits to Growth" the fact that we are living on a finite planet which cannot experience growth forever. It was widely criticized by left-wing intellectuals and others because of the solutions it offered largely centered on population control. 

Bearing in mind that The Club of Rome is a global ruling class organization which benefits from the system of capitalism, you will understand that their solutions avoid any discussion of the deleterious effects of their system on the planet. They are desperately worried about these effects on the system which sustains their power and wealth. Thus, they focus on other other measures to cope with the problems that their system is causing. 

Notice in this video presentation that the focus is on energy efficiency, recycling, and finding new energy resources. Regardless of their misleading solutions, their analysis of the problem--diminishing opportunities for cheap resource extraction--is accurate. 
In this Report to the Club of Rome,to be released on 12 June, Ugo Bardi delivers a sweeping history of the mining industry, and illustrates how the gigantic mining machine is now starting to show signs of difficulties. Having thoroughly plundered planet Earth we are entering a new world, says Bardi, and he draws on the world’s leading mineral experts to offer a compelling glimpse in the new world ahead.

Modern day slavery for clothing in the Western World

A 6:01m video from Truthloader.
Truthloader is a new daily YouTube show bringing investigative and citizen journalism together. We investigate the things that our audience tell us is important.

So, how is wage slavery better than classic slavery?

Capitalist indoctrination agencies in media and education would have you believe that wage slaves won their "freedom" when classic slavery was abolished. But, what kind of freedom is this if a small segment of the population owns all the tools which inventor-workers and scientific workers created in the past, and they won't let present day workers use them unless they compete to be employed by capitalists for wages in a labor market? Freedom to starve? Freedom to live under a bridge?

Think about the advantages of classic slavery for workers. If some person or corporation has purchased you in order to work on "their property", they have an investment in you and are likely to take good care of you like they do with the machinery they "own". Thus, they are likely to maintain you in good health, train you, and provide you with shelter so that they can keep exploiting the value you produce, recover their investment, and make a profit. That isn't the case with wage-slavery where they can simply and immediately replace you with someone else who is in better health and has more training purchased at their own expense.

Thursday, July 3, 2014

'Buzzword List' Reveals What State Officials Can't Say About Fracking

Click here to access article by Nadia Prupis from Common Dreams.

This report by Prupis is a perfect illustration of the power of important corporations and their owners among the One Percent to control government employees whenever their interests are threatened. Contrary to what many people believe, the complete capture of government by industrial and financial corporations happened a long time ago--it happened at least by the time of the gilded age around 1900. 

Corporations were only the logical development of an ownership class who have always ruled the US since its founding. Following a mercantile and agricultural economy, in the latter half of the 19th century rapid technological advances were created by working people, but became the property of the One Percent. The latter used this technology in mines and factories to create very profitable enterprises, followed by the concentration of ownership into huge industrial and financial monopolies. This concentration of wealth and power permitted the ruling class to expand voting rights beyond only white male property owners which, in turn, strengthened the facade of "democracy" which was a core theme of their indoctrination agencies.

Opposing this logical development were farmers in the Midwest (Populist Movement) and workers in urban areas who suffered from 10-12 hour workdays, dangerous working conditions, and low pay. Farmers were increasingly oppressed by onerous interest rates on loans from banks, high prices from commercial supply companies and railroads, and low prices from milling companies--all owned by the One Percent. Labor organizing faced huge obstacles from companies whose owners often used private armies to attack worker organizers, used their media to smear the labor movement, and the power of the state against workers. A dramatic illustration of the latter was the kangaroo court that prosecuted and hung four labor leaders in the Haymarket massacre of 1886. 

Unfortunately, farmers and labor organizers were unable to combine their forces in their battles with the One Percent, and, as they say, "the rest is history". (Three excellent books cover these events in detail: Democratic Promise by Lawrence Goodwyn which gives a thorough history of farmer struggles, and The Lords of Creation by Frederick Lewis Allen and Triumphant Plutocracy by Richard F. Pettigrew [1921] describe the rise of an overwhelming plutocracy that took control of all institutions of society.)

EU Association Agreement with Ukraine Is a Gift to Kleptocrats

Click here if you wish to access the transcript of this 10:59m interview with Michael Hudson from Real News.

The interviewer starts off by asking Hudson about the significance of the economic association agreement that Moldova, Georgia, and Ukraine signed with the E.U. last week. He begins his answer with this general observation: 
...this is a form of colonialism almost identical to what Europe did in Africa and Latin America and the Near East. What it did in the 19th century in Africa, where property was owned communally, was it would go to the chieftains of a given tribe, as it did to the Saudi Arabian chieftains, and it would say, well, to make an agreement, you have to register all this oil of your country, but you register it in your own name. And once they registered it in their own name, then Britain or France or the other European powers could make a deal that the chieftains could then sell this property or make contracts on behalf of oil or minerals with the European colonial powers. And that's how the colonial powers pried away all of this property from what had been tribal possession or communal possession.

Wednesday, July 2, 2014

Crushing Occupy Wall Street: It Was All About the Pitchforks

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

Whereas Martens places the emphasis on the fear that Occupy movement instilled in our ruling class, I'd like to emphasize their response which expresses the willingness of capitalist elites to use overt force to defend their system in spite of all the "democratic" facades they have placed around it. When their system is threatened, they have no compunctions about showing where real power lies in a country ruled by capitalist elites. As revealed in the article, a brutal response which ignored all constitutionally guaranteed rights to protest was put in place by a close collaboration of ruling class agents and their police forces to crush dissent. Thus has revealed the naked hand of fascism which capitalist elites always ultimately rely on whenever they feel threatened.

The same phenomenon is now being played out in the regime established by Empire operators in Ukraine for us to see in a more overt fashion as revealed in a report by Clara Weiss at WSWS entitled "Kiev deploys fascists against political opponents". Empire agents used self-proclaimed fascists from the very start of their violent overthrow of the elected government in Ukraine.

Of course, the same pattern played out for all the world to see in Germany in the 1930s when German steel magnate Fritz Thyssen and other industrialists brought the Nazi party to power when they were feeling threatened by communists and socialists. 

Financiers seek to have fondest dreams come true through own secret trade deal

Click here to access article by Pete Dolack from his blog Systemic Disorder.

Dolack has a special knack for explaining the machinations of our ruling class to subvert what is left of national laws protecting workers. In this article he explains the latest secret negotiations called TISA going on by the core of the world capitalist class, the banking/financial elites, to circumvent national restrictions on the movement of money across borders to exploit workers and the environment.
The financial industry has grown ever more powerful in recent decades, so perhaps the world’s governments believe it is only fitting that it has its own secret treaty. Similar to “free trade” agreements that curtail regulation of manufacturers, the Trade In Services Agreement’s Financial Services Annex, if passed, would eliminate the ability of governments to regulate the financial industry.

As Iraq Burns, US Plans $500 Million to Terrorists in Syria

Click here to access article by Tony Cartalucci from New Eastern Outlook.

Cartalucci asks a very important question, the answer to which undermines the entire Empire propaganda about the ISIS project currently being played out in Iraq.
If the US and its regional collaborators have provided “moderates” with hundreds of millions in aid, who has provided Al Qaeda with even more to explain their now state-sized holdings not only in Syria but now in northern Iraq?
The answer is simple. 

“We want our freedom!” Refugees resist in Berlin

Click here to access article by Joris Leverink from Reflections on a Revolution.
Refugees, immigrants and asylum-seekers coming to Europe are faced with increased threats and hostility from governments and society alike. Through populist media and right-wing political discourse they are depicted as parasites and bloodsuckers free-riding on “our” national wealth, without contributing anything. This kind of racist rhetoric is unfortunately characteristic of and inherent to a global economic system where capital and commodities move freely across borders, while new walls are being erected everywhere to halt the resulting flows of human beings. 
The flight of people from both economic and war-related disasters is not tolerated by capitalist regimes which often cause the disasters. They are far more interested in removing barriers to their commercial operations.

Ukraine’s Gangster State

Click here to access post from RT which includes video interviews with Michael Hudson and William Engdahl. Posted on Hudson's website with a transcript.

Hudson writes: "Hard and fast insights on Ukraine’s land-grabbing, with some frightening developments unfolding. .... This could well be another test on how far things can be pushed, building on Latvia."

Tuesday, July 1, 2014

Capitalist Industrial Civilization = M.A.D.

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

No one does graphics better than this blogger who is passionately concerned about what capitalism is doing to our Earth-sanctuary.
Structuring a society to reward the most sociopathic and ruthless amongst us, create grotesque levels of inequality and political disenfranchisement, deify material wealth as the primary metric of success, privatize and profitize war, and use the planet as a garbage dump for toxic waste is a recipe for disaster.

Former NASA Chief Scientist: "We're Effectively Taking a Sledgehammer to the Climate System"

Click here to access article by Dahr Jamail from Truthout.

Jamail interviews a scientist, who is loaded with qualifications related to this subject, to find out what he means when he says that we are "taking a sledgehammer to the climate system".

Capitalism & Climate Change – Part IV: Geoengineering and Sustainable Energy

Click here to access article by Alyssa Rohricht from Black Cat Revolution.

Capitalist propagandists, having finally acknowledged the reality of the climate crisis, have now out of desperation changed their message to this: technology will save us (and our beloved system).
Technology will save the planet; at least, that’s the assertion. The claim is that capitalism, if allowed to flourish, will naturally lead to technologies that are more sustainable and cause less harm to the environment through market pressures. The sheer power of the human mind to innovate will be our redemption. Production can continue unabated, meanwhile our emissions and use of natural resources will decrease.
This is the idea of dematerializing the economy – or reducing the throughput of raw materials and energy into the system without decreasing the system’s output of goods and services. Basically, the economy will do more with less.

It is time to wake up

Click here to access article by Hugh Tiernan from Renegade Optimist.

It's not really that complicated, but first we must wake-up, says Tiernan, and face the stark reality that there is no alternative: we must take control away from sociopaths.
At this point it seems to me that the problems are rather obvious.  The world is controlled by a small group of sociopaths for their benefit. Consequently all the systems that we take for granted were designed by them or manipulated into a form that supports their agenda of exclusive control and personal benefit.

Monday, June 30, 2014

Facebook reveals news feed experiment to control emotions

Click here to access article by Robert Booth from The Guardian.

This report on experiments conducted via Facebook illustrates both the kind of research done by corporate dominated universities and the level of sophisticated technology developed to manipulate citizens to serve the needs of the ruling class.

As one critic incisively put it,
"They are manipulating material from people's personal lives and I am worried about the ability of Facebook and others to manipulate people's thoughts in politics or other areas." 
Because of the gross violation of the ethical principle of research that subjects be informed that they are subjects in an experiment, Facebook is facing widespread criticism. Thankfully Facebook reported this experiment, but think of all the types of manipulation that is not being reported by corporate owned media empires which are unrestrained by any ethical principles. Then, you might imagine the extent of mind control that our ruling masters are using, or willing to use, to manipulate us to go along with their wars, their austerity policies, their practices that destroy the environment and destabilize the climate. Such manipulation, along with control of elections and institutions of government, enable our ruling class to maintain the illusion that they govern with the consent of the governed according to democratic principles. 

However, if you, in contrast to most of your fellow Americans, have been wide awake, you know that they are not putting all their eggs in the basket of their fake democracy. They are ready with militarized police forces, around the clock surveillance, Patriot Acts, and suspension of the Constitution to deter any forms of actions by a riled citizenry.

Wikileaks: Leaked TISA Text Shows US, EU Aggressively Rolling Back Regulations

Click here to access article by Carey L. Biron from Mint Press News.

It's difficult to keep up with all the secret negotiations going on to make it easier for global capitalist elites to break down national restraints on business operations that harm the health and welfare of the public, the 99 Percent. Thus far we've learned of the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTP), the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP), and now we have the Trade in Services Agreement (TISA) which seems to focus on breaking down national restraints on financial/banking operations. We can thank Wikileaks for another exposé of what our capitalist masters are doing to circumvent national laws that we've fought for over the centuries designed to protect our interests from predatory capitalists.
Civil society groups have been expressing concerns since the talks, around what is known as the Trade in Services Agreement, or TISA, began a year ago. Yet because the negotiations have been held in secret, watchdog groups have never been able to base their analyses on anything concrete. Now that they can, many are warning that the results appear to be even more problematic than they expected.
“The leaked TISA text is worse than I could have imagined — it’s pretty shocking,” William Waring, a trade expert with Friends of the Earth....

Capitalism & Climate Change – Part III: Commodifying Nature & the Market-Based Approach

Click here to access article by Alyssa Rohricht from Black Cat Revolution.
Capitalism dominates the globe. It has become so enmeshed into the cultural narrative that it seems almost axiomatic. Private owners (of capital) control the means of production. The goal: build profits. The best part about it is that if everyone pursues self-interest, the market will grow and society will benefit. The invisible hand helps the market to self-regulate, creating socially desirable results.
No. When it comes to dealing with issues such as poverty, the income gap, unemployment, economic crises, human rights, war, imperialism, and the externalization of costs on society and the environment, the invisible hand that Adam Smith once imagined is not invisible, it is nonexistent.
The author provides the most devastating attack on the method of purchasing carbon credits to permit the externalization of pollution that I have seen. 

Sunday, June 29, 2014

Cold War Renewed With A Vengeance While Washington Again Lies

Click here to access article by Paul Craig Roberts from World News Trust.

Roberts makes a lot of startling, although reasonable, allegations in this essay, but unfortunately he doesn't provide any documentation to support them. However, he does make a convincing argument that the goal of the US-led Empire is world domination, much like the German Empire of the 1930s. The establishment of capitalism in Russia and the dismemberment of the Soviet Union didn't really change the fact of Russian independence. Hence, the anti-Russian policies pursued by the US Empire, and the same fate confronts China. 
Putin’s dilemma is that he is caught between his heart-felt desire to reach an accommodation with Europe and Washington’s desire to demonize and isolate Russia.
The risk for Putin is that his desire for accommodation is being exploited by Washington and explained to the EU as Putin’s weakness and lack of courage. Washington is telling its European vassals that Putin’s retreat under Europe’s pressure will undermine his status in Russia, and at the right time Washington will unleash its many hundreds of NGOs to bring Putin to ruin.
This was the Ukraine scenario. With Putin replaced with a compliant Russian, richly rewarded by Washington, only China would remain as an obstacle to American world hegemony.
We will see no peace in the decades ahead. At best, we might avoid a major war conflagration. We, the ordinary people of the world, face two monstrous foes that threaten our very existence; and both are rooted in the capitalist system that rewards hyper-aggression: unending wars for domination and climate destabilization.

US army manual details plan to co-opt NGOs

Click here to access article by Yazan al-Saadi from Al Akhbar.
Amongst the many fascinating pieces of information that shed light on the mindset and tactics that drive the American war machine are sections that discuss the role of humanitarian NGOs in a manner that presents them as a vital cog – or in the document's own words as part of “comprehensive efforts” – in achieving military objections within the murky arena of asymmetric warfare.
At face-value the language used appears vague and benign, yet when deconstructed and understood in the context of counter-insurgency, the implications are significant.

ISIS CRISIS: $500 Million Sought in ‘War Funds’ for Rebels in Western Proxy War & Israeli Oil Shipments

Click here to access article by Shawn Helton from 21st Century Wire.
As this latest Western manufactured ‘terror nightmare’ continues to unfold in Iraq and Syria, we’ve learned that US President Barack Obama has now asked Congress to authorize direct military aid and equipment to be sent to ‘the rebels’ in Syria. This latest stage of Washington’s project in Syria is said to total $500 million, expanding the covert CIA/FSA training facilities that have ties to ISIS in both Jordan and Turkey…
See also "Syria: Obama Prolongs The Conflict" from Moon of Alabama

Creditocracy and the case for debt refusal

Click here to access a review of a book by this title authored by Andrew Ross posted on CounterFire (Britain).
This debt fuelled economy, or ‘Creditocracy’ is the subject of Andrew Ross’s book. Ross is an academic and activist in the USA who has been involved in debt resistance initiatives arising out of the Occupy Wall Street movement. In Ross’s view the USA is currently a ‘full blown creditocracy’, which is his definition of  liberal [capitalism's fake version of] democracy coupled with a heavily financialised economy, where the costs of social goods such as education, health and social care are debt financed. As more responsibility for welfare is privatized and falls to individuals, private debt financing becomes more significant. He also points out that debt, and the austerity measures associated with it, is not only part of the re-structuring of neoliberal capitalism but also exists as form of social control where people are afraid to risk their jobs or are ashamed to ask for help in repaying debt. [my emphasis]