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 11, 2015

US-Israeli Imperialists Plot Downfall of Syria and Iran

Click here to access article by Brandon Martinez from Non-Aligned Media

Martinez does an excellent job of assembling the main features of the Zionist strategy of divide and rule that has been in operation probably since the founding of Israel, and using mainstream sources to document this assembly. The objective of getting Arabs and Muslims in the Middle East to literally kill each other has been the single thread running through all of the wars and upheavals in this region since Israel's appearance. This Zionist strategy has dove-tailed nicely with the US Empire's need to control the region's oil resources, and above all, the need to protect the medieval kingdom of Saudi Arabia and associates because they, in return for this protection, back the US dollar. Hence, the Israelis, too, have always cooperated with Saudi Arabia in fomenting this carnage. Have you noticed that the terrorist army called ISIS never attacks Israel? And, Israelis even helping them? (Also, see this.)
The United States has been running a particularly reckless and transparent bluff on the world.

‘We must defeat ISIS’ has been the repetitive mantra bellowed from pulpits and podiums by deceitful US officials. But this bit of shameless Orwellian newspeak is coming from the very same rogue policy makers who have been the primary source of arms and largesse to that group and its sordid affiliates across Syria, Libya, Iraq and elsewhere.

American Lemmings: The Empire's Favorite

Click here to access article by Philip A. Farruggio from World News Trust. 

I think there is still hope when a person such as Farruggio from a working class background really understands some of the glaring, fundamental realities of political life in the US.
...we have an American Empire that has, over the period of decades, transformed much of our populace into lemmings.

They achieved this with bombarding us, through the corporate-run media, with misinformation, disinformation and outright lies.

The empire played the fear card over and over: first it was fear of the Commies, then fear of the Islamic terrorists, fear of illegal aliens from south of the border to rape our wives and daughters and then take over our busboy and dishwasher careers; fear of gays corrupting our children, fear of a Marxist/Socialist government, and of course, for we white folks, the fear of the blacks taking over our neighborhoods.

Why Eric Holder’s new job is an insult to the American public

Click here to access article by David Dayen from Salon
The former Attorney General who made "too big to jail" a national joke now re-joins his old corporate law firm 
This is what passes for left capitalist criticism (often referred to as "liberal") in the USA. Dripping with moral outrage, such critical articles in the end serve the ruling capitalist class by implying that Holder's return to his firm, which defends and supports major banking interests, was an immoral exception to the way things really are in this country. Of course, this in essence is a denial of the revolving door phenomenon which is the way capitalists rule in the US, it's the way they have always ruled when they could get away with it; and now with the consolidation of wealth and power through private ownership of everything of value, it is completely commonplace.

Friday, July 10, 2015

Greek government approves brutal austerity measures in proposal to EU

Click here to access article by Alex Lantier from World Socialist Web Site

This is quite an amazing turn-about for the Syriza leadership following so closely on the referendum vote! Apparently the views of James Petras and William Engdahl were correct. 
Greece’s Syriza-led government agreed to a massive new €13 billion (US$14.34 billion) package of austerity measures yesterday evening, less than a week after Sunday’s landslide “no” vote in a referendum on European Union (EU) austerity.

The proposal would be the deepest package of cuts since the EU austerity drive began in Greece in late 2009. It goes well beyond the proposed €8 to 9 billion in cuts initially demanded by the EU in talks with Syriza.
See also this and this related to the same subject.

Abrupt Climate Change and The Failure of Democracy

Click here to access article by Chrisopher Black from New Eastern Outlook. (Note: the link he cites in the article for "FirstPost website" must be in error. The correct article can be found here.)

Black is one of a few notable observers who is facing head-on the current and projected calamitous impacts of climate destabilization, and he urges us to face them with him. As laudable as this article is, I have a few problems with it that I don't think is merely nitpicking. 

He is clearly befuddled by what to do about the destabilization of the climate which is only beginning to occur because, as he argues, governments don't care--both "the capitalist world and even the socialist world that is entrapped within its systems." This confusing sentence reveals a lot related to his general confusion and depressing statements which suggest that nothing can be done about climate destabilization. His argument seems to pose only a moral appeal to people of the world to force their governments to do something constructive.

And, what is the "socialist world"? He specifically mentions only China. He adds a little later to this confusion with these statements:
...even in the socialist world, though things are done to try to limit pollution and reduce carbon in the atmosphere, as we see with China’s tree planting program, and carbon sequestration initiatives, they are still locked into a predominantly capitalist, for profit world, there still seems no urgency, and the leaders talk in terms of decades instead of months.
This begs the question can democracy really exist in nations of tens of and hundreds of millions of people? What is this democracy?
I think the source of his intellectual confusion--which not only affects him but most others who are concerned--is the ubiquitous indoctrination programs of capitalist elites. They have people thinking that all one needs to do is label a party or government with a "socialism" tag and this makes them socialist (for example, see this in reference to Vietnam). Likewise for "democracy". Capitalist ideologists have deliberately caused this confusion to interfere with their subjects ability to think straight--an ability which is vitally needed to overthrow their deadly system and replace it with a sustainable and equitable one.

New SWAT Documents Give Snapshot of Ugly Militarization of U.S. Police

Click here to access article by George Joseph from The Intercept. 
Extensive records from SWAT team raids in northeastern Massachusetts released today by the American Civil Liberties Union corroborate what police reform advocates have long insisted: that “Special Weapons And Tactics” units spend a majority of their time responding to low-risk situations that do not require SWAT’s quasi-military approach.

Thursday, July 9, 2015

Even the Pope gets it: carbon markets won’t fix the climate

Click here to access article by Gareth Bryant from Progress in Political Economy.

The author provides more evidence that the carbon market scheme functions as a public relations gimmick to disguise corporate pollution, and even allows corporations to profit from it. 
Carbon markets are in fact designed to seek out cheap emissions reductions...over fundamental structural changes to energy systems away from fossil fuels and towards renewables. Researchers and activists have linked this profit-driven logic to the creative accounting, financial fraud, phantom emissions reductions and polluter subsidies that have riddled carbon markets, arguing they cannot be reformed and should be scrapped.
And he is not optimistic about the upcoming talks in Paris scheduled to begin on Nov. 30th.
As we approach the 2015 UN climate conference in Paris, carbon markets just won’t go away – even despite the fact market solutions actively hinder our ability to make serious emissions cuts.

Record Warmth Continues to Bake U.S. West

Click here to access article by Andrea Thompson from Climate Central.
The huge area of considerable warmth in the Pacific Ocean that has been hanging around for two years now is one of the main drivers for the sultry western weather, and is getting a boost from the very healthy El Niño event that looks to be in place through the end of the year.

These forces are also acting on the background warming that results from the extra heat trapped in the Earth’s atmosphere by ever-increasing greenhouse gas levels, which increases the odds for such high temperature records.

The heat spells bad news for the tenacious drought that is now in its fifth year in California, as well as newly expanded drought conditions in the Pacific Northwest, which saw a paltry winter snowpack during the balmy winter.

Will climate chaos reign in the Anthropocene?

Click here to access article by Ian Angus from Climate & Capitalism.
Naturalists had of course been aware since the mid-19th century that glaciers had at least once advanced to cover much of the world with ice, and that animals now unknown once walked the earth, but changes of that magnitude were believed to occur extremely slowly, and to be of no relevance to human history and activity. Like the painted backdrop in a stage play, the natural world was unchanging context, not an active player in any human drama.

That view is no longer tenable. Scientific research now shows that the Earth is constantly changing on every scale of space and time, and that the most drastic changes often occur with remarkable speed. 

The Flaccid “Revolution” of Sanders’ Eunuch Class

Click here if you wish to directly access the brief essay by Phil Rockstroh republished below from The Chiseler
How is it possible that Bernie Sanders is leading a “political revolution"… from inside the Democratic Party? Doing such is like organizing an orgy within a house of  eunuchs; a marathon in an emphysema ward; a zen tea ceremony in a meth house.

The Democratic Party is a cul-de-sac for leftist activism.

Revolutionaries do not – from the advent of the uprising – vow to endorse their despotic foes if defeated, as Sanders has promised to do when corporacrat and warmonger Hillary Clinton emerges victorious from the primary season. 

What could be the source of this toxic naivety? It seems to be the liberal equivalent of wingnut gun fetishism, police state apologia, and military hagiography i.e., a compulsion to ward off feelings of powerlessness – a desperate clinging to the illusion of control – a willfully obtuse refusal to accept the fact that reform cannot arrive by participating in a system owned and operated by one’s oppressor.

A slave is not going to change the plantation from within.

Wednesday, July 8, 2015

Class warfare through stock markets

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

The article provides a very good description of the current concentration of wealth that has been accelerating during the current neoliberal phase that characterizes capitalism into which the Empire has entered. However, Dolack overlooks one important point when he wrote in his opening paragraph about the motivation of greed:
Income re-distribution is always in the eye of the beholder, but never seen as such by those for whom more is never enough. The insatiable greed of financiers has reached the point where large corporations are now spending almost all profits on stock buybacks and dividends. And, despite that largesse, those companies are sitting on trillions of dollars in cash.
It is not so much wealth that is worshiped by our masters, it is the power that is created by the acquisition of wealth. This is the real addiction that drives them on and on to accumulate ever greater amounts of wealth beyond which they could never spend. 

Like any other hardcore addict, no moral or social considerations ever stand in their way of satisfying this addiction. Thus, wars, even global wars, never bother them--actually wars often end up producing more power/wealth for them. Extreme poverty doesn't bother them--except they regard it as visual pollution that they go to great lengths to avoid. It is precisely this insight that must drive us in the Ninety-Nine Percent to end the rule of this disastrous system and replace it with radical egalitarian societies. This is the only way we will prevent the coming catastrophes of climate destabilization and nuclear wars.

This insight is precisely why we shouldn't look to earlier forms of capitalist social development in which some mild forms of regulation were present. Capitalism is exactly like a cancer--it must grow or die. And we shouldn't look to our salvation in a "multi-polar" world where competing capitalist nations exist. Surely we have learned this from the horrendous experiences during the first half of the 20th century! While Russian and Chinese capitalists appear to be under the control of governments in their respective countries, how long can these benign relationships last? And, why should we see their social systems as something to be emulated?

GREECE’D: We Voted ‘No’ to slavery, but ‘Yes’ to our chains

Click here to access article by Greg Palast from his blog. 

I believe that Palast has some very good arguments here and a realistic assessment of what many Greeks are unable to face.
I know that many Greeks, Cypriots, Italians and Portuguese all express a visceral fear of leaving the euro. Depending on which polls one chooses to believe, anywhere from a near-majority to an overwhelming majority of Greeks wish to remain in the euro at all costs. From the hysterical statements I heard from some Greeks that, “We cannot leave Europe!”, you’d think that dropping the euro will cause Greece to break off at the Albanian border and crash into Africa.

It would be refreshing to hear political leaders say the honest economic truth: “Workers of Europe unite! You have nothing to lose but the euro—and your chains.”

The Greek Crisis - What You're Not Being Told

Click here to access 4:15m video with transcript posted on StormCloudsGathering. (I'm not sure who is behind this website, but the video was also posted without the transcript on Non-Aligned Media where Brandon Martinez was listed as the writer. (He is also the co-founder of the Non-Aligned Media. I much prefer this one with the transcript.) 

The video with transcript provides what I believe to be a very good summary for those who haven't been following the events in Greece and Europe because they are much too busy or think that foreign events don't matter to them.

Tuesday, July 7, 2015

Greece’s resounding OXI shakes Europe to the core

Click here to access article by Jerome Roos from Reflections on a Revolution. 
They tried everything. They shut down the banks. They imposed capital controls. They faked the polls. They spread rumors about impending deposit seizures. They even threatened to force Greece out of the Eurozone and to pursue outright regime change. Over the past 10 days, the political, financial and media establishment — both within Greece and in Europe — went full-on apocalyptic.
But the Greeks resisted.
Roos provides his take on the repercussions we can expect from Sunday's Greek referendum.

Nudelman's New War, Nuland's Nemesis--Will Greece, or won't Greece be destroyed to save her from Russia

Click here to access article by John Helmer from his blog Dances with Bears.

Helmer surveys a number of US think tanks, where our ruling masters hash out their nefarious strategies, to find out what they are thinking in reaction to Greece's resounding "no" to paying off illegitimate debts and more austerity policies to pay for the debts. In addition he finds other negative evidence to suggest that the West may be planning a coup in Greece. It seems that our masters don't like democracy when it goes against their interests. 
...when the State Department’s Victoria Nuland (nee Nudelman...) visited Athens to issue an ultimatum against breaking the anti-Russian sanctions regime, and the Anglo-American think-tanks followed with warnings the Russian Navy is about to sail into Piraeus, the object of the game has been clear. The line for Operation Nemesis has been that Greece must be saved, not from itself or from its creditors, but from the enemy in Moscow. The Russian line has been to do nothing to give credence to that propaganda; to wait and to watch.

As the head of State’s Bureau of European and Eurasian affairs, Nuland is the official in charge of warmaking in Europe. 

ISIL: Made in Langley

Click here to access article by Wayne Madsen from Strategic Culture Foundation. 

The evidence keeps mounting that ISIS OR ISIL is a collaborative project of the US, Saudis and associates, and Israel as a integral part of the Empire's strategy of tension to keep the Middle East destabilized and under control. The Empire's frequent use of this strategy from contrived terrorist incidents in the US to destabilizing countries like Iraq, Libya, Syria, and Ukraine, testifies to its usefulness in a variety of situations.
ISIL now serves as an important CIA, Saudi, and Israeli asset against common foes like Iran. ISIL has made no secret of its desire to bring the death and destruction it has visited upon Syria and Iraq into the heart of Iran. The destabilization of Iran by sponsoring terrorist attacks in Iran and against Iranian targets abroad has long been the modus operandi of the U.S., Israel, and Saudi Arabia....

Eric Holder Returns as Hero to Law Firm That Lobbies for Big Banks

Click here to access article by Lee Fang from The Intercept.
After failing to criminally prosecute any of the financial firms responsible for the market collapse in 2008, former Attorney General Eric Holder is returning to Covington & Burling, a corporate law firm known for serving Wall Street clients.
This article reports on a phenomenon that is now business as usual in the US and in Western style "democracies" in general. As such it once again illustrates that government does not represent the general public, but only the ruling capitalist class--people who claim private "ownership" of a society's economy. 

At the beginning they seduced working people into aiding them in the overthrow the rule of monarchies and aristocracies by promising freedom from arbitrary rule and democracy. They have had to pay lip service to these promises ever since. However, over the past several centuries of rule by this class they have been slowly increasing their accumulation of ownership, wealth, and power. Now we see the results: they have also been increasing the integration of government with their rule so that government decision making bodies are now performing a purely fake democratic drama for the public while simultaneously serving the very real capitalist interests of profit and power.

Monday, July 6, 2015

How the Empire will strike back

Click here to access article by "The Saker" from A bird's eye view of the Vineyard.
Okay, now that we have all celebrated the beautiful Greek “NO!” to the EU plutocracy, we need to get real again and look at the Empire’s options.  Or, in fact, at the Empire’s option (with no ‘s’ at the end).

The Empire is extremely predictable.  The example of Greece is a textbook case of how the Empire uses banks to strangle a country with debt, creates a comprador ruling class, turns the national media into an instrument of imperial propaganda and tries to completely halt any democratic process by dealing only with the ruling class.  By some quasi miracle this last phase has failed in the case of Greece.
The author then proceeds to explain to us how Empire masters will attempt to punish Greeks for this insubordination. 

Also, see this by economist Michael Hudson entitled "Why No Means Yes" from his blog.

TPP: Fast Track to Oligarchy

Click here if you wish to access this cartoon directly from cartoonist Jen Sorensen's website.


Of course, there was no "old Obama". The "President of the United States" was long ago (beginning with the assassination of J.F. Kennedy) converted by our hidden ruling class into a propaganda (aka public relations) office to serve the ruling class. Obama knew this when he was selected for this position, and he is faithfully carrying out his responsibilities as instructed by his ruling class bosses.

Obama was mostly raised by his banker grandmother in Hawaii, and he adopted her values. His indoctrination was further reinforced by his education in elite private schools in Hawaii, then Columbia and Harvard. He has had little difficulty in accepting and carrying out his assignment. By carefully cultivating this man who has an outward racial appearance of an African-American to race-conscious Americans, our masters have tricked Americans once again into believing that anything would change by an election.

Jane Fonda on climate change

Click here to access her 12:01m interview on CBC-TV, Canada's public communications company.

I'm posting this not so much for her insights on the threat of climate destabilization, but mostly because she is a very familiar activist from my generation to demonstrate that there are still such activists who are continuing the fight against the capitalist ruling class "evil-doers". We fought them in the Civil Rights Movement, we fought them in the Anti-Vietnam War Movement, and we will still keep fighting them on the issue of climate destabilization and their war policies until our last breath.

Here below is Fonda speaking as a younger activist in 1970 expressing her political views also on CBC-TV regarding issues of that time. (I had to crank my sound system way up to hear everything.) She makes clear that capitalism was the main problem then, and capitalism is still the main problem today under-girding all major problems. Younger generations must take up this fight against such a system that will sacrifice humans, many species, and much of the life-supporting environment on the alter of profit and class power. European youth are waking up. Unfortunately, many young Americans are still enthralled with all their electronic gadgets.

Sunday, July 5, 2015

Greece needs a Plan C: for the commons and communality

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

Roos argues that in this showdown with European and international capital, the Greeks are embarking on a revolutionary path without a revolutionary plan, "Plan C". 
...the debate within Syriza on how to resolve the crisis has essentially revolved around two poles: the government’s original plan A — to end austerity within the eurozone — and the more radical alternative originally proposed by the party’s left faction, whose Plan B envisions a unilateral default and Grexit as a way out of the misery. We also know that the latter plan has gained more and more support from Syriza cadres (even those close to Tsipras) as the negotiations with creditors stalled.

The two plans always appeared to be diametrically opposed to one another. In truth, the strong dichotomy between them obscures a shared premise. Ultimately, both Plan A and Plan B revolve around the belief that, if only the government can succeed in executing its chosen top-down program, recovery will be swift and things will quickly go back to the way they were before.
I think he's right. If they reject plan A, plan B will be found by Greeks to be so unpalatable that they could easily opt for a serious revolutionary path. And, I think that is precisely why we are seeing the IMF, a major sector of Empire capitalist power, exhibiting signs of fright over this prospect by explicitly advocating some debt relief. Whether the Greeks have the determination and the political consciousness to pull off a revolutionary response is a major question. 

Roos provides a sketch of what a revolutionary response, plan C, would look like.
In contrast to both Plan A and Plan B, Plan C would be a bottom-up project organized by local communities that would situate itself directly on the terrain of everyday life. Its main contributions would be threefold.
However, I think that this is a question that will be increasingly confronting all people who, under the heel of the Empire's capitalist oppression, must face sooner or later. In that sense, I think it's appropriate to say that "we are all Greeks now". It's only a matter of time before we, too, will have to face the same decisions that Greeks are now facing. Shall we submit to indefinite debt peonage to capitalist elites or will we build an egalitarian society in which power comes from the people to serve the people, not just one class of people who claim to "own" the economy? 

The Greeks are facing a real test of human nature: whether to exist as free, self-determining human beings or continue to submit to being slaves to capitalists. The outcome of this major question will not be finally settled in this referendum. We can expect many more such tests of people's human nature in the future.

On eve of referendum, Greeks refuse to give in to fear

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

On the eve of the Greek referendum, Roos provides evidence that European corporate media are doing their best to frighten Greeks into submission to financial elites.

Jeff J. Brown interviewed on Wall St. for Main St., 2015.6.27

Click here to access a 48 minute podcast interview posted on 44Days conducted by Wall Street for Main Street with Jeff J. Brown who is currently living and working in China. (I found the audio production much more even on the SoundCloud link than Windows Media Audio which is presented in the article. With the latter I had to keep turning up the sound when Brown was speaking, and down when the interviewer was speaking.) 

I am posting this interview not because it sheds light on capitalism in general, but because it provides via Jeff Brown what I regard as authentic information about China which is difficult for Americans to access. China is becoming a major player in the world's economic and political scenes, and we simply must know what is going on there. 

NSA-French Flap Confirms Euro-Servility

Click here to access article by Ulson Gunnar from New Eastern Outlook.

The article supports my long held contention that Europe is only a section of the US-led capitalist Empire.
For those who labor under the misguided delusion that Europe defines its own destiny independently, no clearer wake up call could have been given than the latest US-French spying scandal. It is a wake up call not because of revelations that the United States has been spying on the French government, but because the French government, like its neighbor Germany who was also a victim of US spying, has predictably let the matter drop with no apparent repercussions for the perpetrators.