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, October 17, 2015

Exxon's Profits versus Climate Destabilization

Cartoon created by Pat Bagley and posted on Occasional Links & Commentary.

For an excellent background report on Exxon's history as depicted in this cartoon, read at least Part 1 of a five part series of their history entitled "Exxon: The Road Not Taken" posted on Inside Climate News

Lessons for the Trans-Pacific Partnership

Click here to access article by Mark Weisbrot from The Cipher Brief
There are many lessons from the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) that are relevant to the current debate over the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP). First, like the TPP, NAFTA was never mostly about trade and even less about free trade. In 1994, the U.S. already had low tariff barriers to Mexican goods. The agreement was much more about creating and expanding new rights and privileges for investors, mostly multinational corporations.

TTIP Is a ‘Revolution Against International Law'

Click here to access article by Nick Dearden from Common Dreams

The article reports warnings from the UN human rights expert Alfred-Maurice de Zayas regarding the secret trade agreements.
He believes the privileges which big business is gaining through trade agreements like TTIP “constitute an attack on the very essence of sovereignty and self-determination, which are founding principles of the United Nations.”

The ‘corporate courts’ system is “a Trojan horse” threatening “a privatized system of dispute settlement, outside and contrary to … the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights.”

Google degenerates into Ministry of Truth; all knowledge must now be pre-approved by search algorithm

Click here to access article by Jonathan Benson from Natural News
Gone are the days when you could search Google and pull up neutral, relevant content appropriate to your search query. The search engine giant is reportedly pioneering a new search algorithm that will tailor search results not based on popularity or accuracy, but rather on what Google itself deems to be truthful or untruthful.

The world's new "Ministry of Truth", Google believes that screening and censoring information requested by its users will help avoid "websites full of misinformation" from showing up at the top of the search list.

Friday, October 16, 2015

Multipolarism Solves Syria at the Source

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

I regard Cartalucci as one of the very best geopolitical analysts who are using their writing skills to promote a more just and peaceful world. This piece, I think, represents one of his best efforts. He lays out his thesis in the first paragraph, then develops it by cogent arguments supported by linked-to evidence, reaches conclusions, and then looks ahead at the implications of his analysis for future efforts to create a more just, peaceful world.

However, he, like many other progressive writers, characterizes this latter world as a "multipolar world". Most such writers implicitly mean a world governed by at least several independent nation-states. It doesn't seem to really matter to them whether these nation-states are themselves fractured into antagonistic class divisions causing innumerable problems within these societies. Cartalucci tries to cover himself from this accusation by stating in the second to the last paragraph this rather startling sentence:
A multipolar world not only means a distribution of global power, but also a distribution of global responsibility and wealth. And this extends not only to nations, but also states and provinces, as well as communities and even individuals.
This is where I think he misses a stark reality preventing any solution to accomplishing a more just and peaceful world. This general statement, which he fails to develop, glosses over the role that capitalism plays in fracturing societies, pitting classes against each other, and ultimately nations against each other in wars for dominance and exploitation. 

Until humans become conscious of this core problem, no solution is possible for a just and peaceful world. We will keep floundering around and wasting valuable time by creating solutions that lead to dead-ends; meanwhile the more immediate threat of a nuclear conflagration will likely occur, and if not, then we humans will be disappeared from the face of the Earth by climate destabilization.

Putin is Defeating More than ISIS in Syria

Click here to access article by F. William Engdahl from New Eastern Outlook.
Today the picture is changing, and profoundly. It is Washington that is on the defensive, exposed for the criminal actions it has been doing in Syria and across the Middle East, including creating the recent asylum crisis in Germany and large parts of the EU.
Engdahl uses the words of Putin at the UN and the actions of the Russian air force to reveal what the article's headline means:
The Obama Administration has been training terrorists of Al Qaeda/Al Nusra, allegedly to fight ISIS, much like the disgraced General David Petraeus did in Iraq and Afghanistan along with Obama’s special ISIS coordinator, the just-resigned General John Allen. The US-trained “moderate” terrorists were being readied, it’s now clear to all the world, in reality, to battle Assad and open the way for a Muslim Brotherhood takeover of Syria and a real plunge into darkness for the world if that were to succeed.

Now, with the truth in the open, exposed by the remarkable successes of a handful of Russian fighter jets in four days against ISIS, accomplishing more than the US “anti-ISIS coalition” in more than one year, it is clear to the world Washington has been playing a dirty double game.
[my emphasis]

Seeds of Freedom from The Gaia Foundation on Vimeo.

A landmark film narrated by Jeremy Irons. Find out more at www.seedsoffreedom.info
The story of seed has become one of loss, control, dependence and debt.
It’s been written by those who want to make vast profit from our food system, no matter what the true cost.
It’s time to change the story.

Produced by The Gaia Foundation and the African Biodiversity Network, in collaboration with MELCA Ethiopia, Navdanya International and GRAIN.

Thanks to all those involved in making this film possible.
Produced & Directed by Jess Phillimore
Camera - Jess Phillimore, Jason Taylor, Damian Prestidge.

Thursday, October 15, 2015

The Devil’s Chessboard: The Rise of America’s Secret Government

Click here to access the 40 minute interview conducted by Democracy Now! with author David Talbot about his recently published book and what he discovered about Allen Dulles, the long reigning CIA Director, who was involved in all kinds of nefarious activities including the Kennedy assassination. The blogger at Raging Bull-Shit introduces the must-view videos (with transcripts) of this very fascinating interview.  

I regard Allen Dulles as a key figure in the rise of the post-WWII shadow government controlled by a fascist oriented section of America's ruling capitalist class. The seeds for this shadow government were first planted in the 1930s after Franklin Roosevelt took office following the devastating economic crash of 1929. 

FDR had deep historical roots in the early history of the US: his Dutch ancestors settled in the New York area when it was known as New Amsterdam. He was a true member of America's capitalist aristocracy: he was born into wealth and privilege that had been obtained by his ancestors. Such people often exhibit more benign traits often described as "noblesse oblige", a French term borrowed from the reign of the French monarchy and aristocracy, which suggests that a rich and powerful person should be charitable and generous toward the poor. He expressed this attitude through the many programs he promoted, called the New Deal, in which the government employed people to work on public projects, and through social legislation like Social Security, labor laws favoring unions, etc. But he also imposed restrictions on banks and corporations to prevent them from creating another crash of the economy. Most of the capitalist class rabidly opposed spending money on the New Deal, hated unions, and they certainly didn't like restrictions on their activities

Thus you will learn from Talbot about the attempt to recruit Gen. Smedley Butler to lead a coup against Roosevelt. But Butler was no fan of Wall Street, and he reported them to members of Congress who, knowing who really employed them, held hearings on the event behind closed doors where this infamous attempted coup was quietly dealt with and covered up. (Read Jules Archer's excellent book entitled The Plot to Seize the White House.)

This was during a time of radical activity and a growing split between the outrageously rich amidst multitudes of poor, not only in the US, but in all capitalist countries. Many workers in these countries took their inspiration from the Soviet revolution in 1917 and noticed that no unemployment existed in the Soviet Union. The ruling classes in all the capitalist countries were terrified of this new radicalism that threatened their very existence, thus they turned increasingly to authoritarian methods known as fascism to control the threat posed by the vast numbers of disgruntled unemployed workers. 

Overt fascist parties sponsored by capitalists came to power in Germany and Italy, and became a potent force in the other so-called "democratic" countries like France and Britain. In the US they hid behind the label of isolationism and used this as an excuse to oppose any efforts to impede fascist powers in Europe. Some of these fascists showed up in the infamous Dies Committee in Congress. Because of the strong fascist influence among European capitalist classes, Nazi Germany easily overran European countries.

Anderson Cooper: Opposing Illegal CIA Wars Is Unelectable

Click here to access article by Robert Naiman from Huntington Post.

This article illustrates a number of political characteristics about the US: use of corporate media to promote capitalist ruling class views on the populace, the futility of working through the so-called democratic legal process to keep our ruling class government from intervening in the affairs of other countries and supporting subversive movements in these countries, and the infiltration of corporate media by those who have served in the CIA.

I have a personal connection with the events that this article describes. I, as an activist in the early 1980s, made two trips to Nicaragua and learned first hand the destruction by US funded and organized terrorist army known as the Contras of medical clinics and schools setup by the Sandanista government. I heard reports of the atrocities committed by this terrorist army first-hand from Maryknoll nuns who were helping to staff many of these popular social projects. I was also active in supporting the Boland Amendments to the appropriations bill to the Defense Department that was passed in 1982 and which was strengthened in 1984. 

The conservative Reagan administration discovered another source of funding for their nefarious project of overthrowing the Sandanista government by selling arms to Iran in violation of another law prohibiting such sales.

This experience taught me my final lesson about the US ruling class directorate: they will violate any restrictions imposed upon them--even laws enacted by their own official government--when they want to pursue their interests. I learned that they are perfectly willing to violate laws that restrict them from organizing and funding terrorist armies to overturn any government that pursues popular policies that interfere with their agendas of profits and power throughout the world.

“We estimate that the top percentile now own half of all household assets in the world.”: 2015 Credit Suisse Global Wealth Report

Click here to access article by David Ruccio from Real-World Economic Review Blog.

Wednesday, October 14, 2015

Is The End Of Independent News In Sight?

Click here to access article by Graham Vanbergen from TruePublica (Britain). 

The author points to considerable evidence that our capitalist masters are closing down the internet for independent bloggers like myself and channeling news and information through "the cyber 'ghettos' of Twitter, Facebook and Instagram".

Don't Get Berned Again. Bernie's Bribes.

Click here to access article by John V. Walsh from LewRockwell
The fundamental problem with Sanders’s campaign is that it is based on bribery, and an especially immoral sort of bribery at that.  For Bernie promises more social benefits IF we, the beneficiaries, let him continue the Empire’s warfare – both economic and military.  That is a most unsavory sort of bribe.  Basically he gives us butter if we give him guns to kill innocents.
The way I see it is that elections are rather much like everything else in the US: a lot of fakery and manipulation to cover over our capitalist ruling class's true agenda which I have long believed to be their consistent fixation on profits and power. 

Yes, within this ruling class there are differences of approach as to how to achieve these twin goals. The liberal end of their political spectrum are lightly constrained by considerations of basic human decency, whereas the right-wing are filled with sociopaths who are not at all constrained in their passions for profits and power. It is the old story of the lessor of two evils, and elections are held so that we can choose between their evil servants. 

What is new is that the political spectrum of our ruling class is constantly shifting to the right. While we may want to choose a lessor evil among the candidates that they offer us, we are still supporting evil. And even if we choose a less evil official candidate, that person is really an employee of the ruling class and answers to them. Therefore we must constantly strive to search for the real masters behind the puppet show called elections in order to see what evil plans they are making and the resulting consequences we will be forced to live with. 

The only real solution is revolution, so don't take these election performances seriously. Sure, if it makes you feel better, vote for the lessor evil. But don't let your comfortableness deter you from more revolutionary activities of revealing the truth about all the lies of our masters, spreading this truth, raising consciousness among your friends and neighbors, etc. They know they cannot impose all their evil plans on the world if the American people don't support them. That is why they go to such great lengths to deceive us. Most importantly, we must work to build this consciousness because it is the foundation of any real revolution.   

Snowden and Allies Issue Warnings as Australia Unleashes Mass Spying

Click here to access article by Nadia Prupis from Common Dreams

Looks like much of the advice could apply to us in the US.

Tuesday, October 13, 2015

A Half-A-Billion-Dollar Waste…Or Was It?

Click here to access article by Andrew KORYBKO (USA) & Hamsa HADDAD (Syria) from Oriental Review

The lies of our official leaders become evermore convoluted as they pile lie upon lie to try to hide their criminal policies and actions in Syria and nearby region. The authors examine recent statements by government officials who attempt to "explain" their "failed" policies as simply a mistake at best, and government bungling at worst. The authors, by framing these recent "explanations" in the context of known government policies and actions in the region during the past decade, these official explanations look more and more like a propaganda cover-up of the Empire's true intentions--overthrowing the legitimate government of Syria.

Needling Obama for More Wars

Click here to access article by Robert Parry from ConsortiumNews
As demonstrated by Steve Kroft of CBS’ “60 Minutes” in his contentious interview with President Barack Obama, a key role for the mainstream news media is to enforce whatever warmongering “group think” dominates Official Washington, such as today’s perceived need to escalate U.S. military involvement in Syria and hit back against Russian President Vladimir Putin.
I happened to view some excerpts from this interview, and I immediately saw this as a carefully designed attempt to goad the Obama administration into attacking Russia forces. This would have shocked me a decade ago, but the use of corporate media to currently shape American consensus toward objectives corresponding to those of right-wing forces has become so obvious to anyone who follows independent media.

However, it occurred to me that this hostile attack on the current restrained policies of the administration might signal an attempt by the lunatic right-wing in the US to take control of the government's imperial policies. And maybe the recent admissions by government officials of gross "mistakes" in training and equipping "Syrian rebels" might also be such an effort to undermine support for the "moderate" section of the ruling class directorate. Let us pray that this isn't so. 

[Late addendum] Also, see this article "The GOP’s Benghazi scam is exploding in its face: Why the latest stunning revelations will only make Republicans more extreme" posted on Salon. 

As Russia Bombs ISIS, US Bombs Syrian Civilian Power Stations

Click here to access article by Brandon Turbeville from Activist Post.
In yet another telling episode, the United States has again demonstrated its true position in regards to ISIS and the Russian bombing of the terrorist organization.
As Russian forces drop bombs and missiles on top of ISIS fighters all across Syria, lobbing cruise missiles from the Caspian, regular sortie missions, and combat helicopter attacks against ISIS and other “relatively moderate” cannibals and terrorists, the United States launched a bombing mission of its own against two power plants in Aleppo.

Public services under attack through TTIP and CETA

Click here to access article posted on Corporate Europe Observatory.

The article is a summary of a 45 page report (PDF) issued by a group of European NGOs and trade unions.
[The report] shows the aggressive agenda of services corporations with regards to TTIP and CETA [Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement] pushing for far-reaching market opening in areas such as health, cultural and postal services, and water, which would allow them to enter and dominate the markets. And it shows how those in charge of EU trade negotiations are rolling out the red carpet for the services industry, with both the consolidated CETA agreement published in September 2014, as well as drafts of TTIP chapters and internal negotiation documents that reflect the wishlists of corporate lobbyists.

Monday, October 12, 2015

US, Russia & Syria: The Problem With Faking It

Click here to access article by Thomas S. Harrington from Common Dreams
The great danger of faking your ability to do something in the public square is that someone with an actual desire to the job you are pretending to do might come along and show you up.

This is what has just happened to the US in Syria with the entrance of Russia into the fight against ISIL.

.... You see, the US strategic goal in Syria is not as your faithful mainstream media servants...might have you believe to save the Syrian people from the ravages of the long-standing Assad dictatorship, but rather to heighten the level of internecine conflict in that country to the point where it will not be able to serve as a regional bulwark against Israeli regional hegemony for at least another generation.

How do we know? Because important protagonists in the Israeli-American policy planning elite have advertised the fact with a surprising degree of clarity in documents and public statements issued over the last several decades.
The sowing of chaos among Arab peoples leading to the fragmentation of their nations has long been a consistent Zionist policy in order to promote Israel as a dominate state in the Middle East. Unfortunately, the professor does not provide links to the documents. Here they are: "The Iron Wall" (1923) by Vladimir Jabotisnky; "The Zionist Plan for the Middle East" (1982) by Oded Yinon ; "A Clean Break: A New Strategy for Securing the Realm" (1996, but first published for public consumption in 2006).

Then in 2007 we see how shocked Gen. Wesley Clark was to find out over the course of several visits to the Pentagon after 9-11-2001 what the real, operative policies were in the Mid-East. He, like most Americans, was thoroughly indoctrinated in the official version of how our government functions.

If it wasn't before, it is now clear that our government has been following the Zionist plan all along while professing humanitarian concerns. I'm not necessarily suggesting that Zionists control our government's foreign policies--there could be just a convergence of interests: Zionists want to dominate the Middle East while US Empire planners want to have Israel as their military fortress in the Middle East to help control the region's oil resources.

US Senate Hearing Discusses Using Refugees as Human Shields in Syria

Click here to access article by Tony Cartalucci from New Eastern Outlook.
With the Empire's deceptive "humanitarian" policy toward the Syrian people in disarray and their fake war on ISIS apparent after only a week of Russian attacks on the latter's bases, Cartalucci digs up information regarding desperate measures that the Empire's strategists are now considering. There seems to be no limit to their depraved imaginations.

The Final Leaked TPP Text is All That We Feared

Click here to access article by Jeremy Malcolm from Electronic Frontier Foundation.
Today's [Friday 10/9/2015] release by Wikileaks of what is believed to be the current and essentially final version of the intellectual property (IP) chapter of the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) confirms our worst fears about the agreement, and dashes the few hopes that we held out that its most onerous provisions wouldn't survive to the end of the negotiations.
Any pretense of a democratic government must have as a prerequisite a government that provides unfettered access to journalists about what it is doing so that the people can hold their governors accountable. Sadly this is not the case with most any existing government, and certainly not in relation to the US government. This phenomenon is a direct result of class structured society which provides access to power by people based on some distinct characteristic. 

Under capitalism the "ownership" of economic property is this characteristic which has created a deep fissure in our society, and has caused extreme inequality of wealth and power. Those who control our society have huge concentrations of ownership, and with this comes overwhelming power to control what happens. The problem for these powerful "owners" is that they rule over a population that has been led by them to believe that our society is governed by democratic principles and therefore legitimate. 

Under the circumstance where there is a pretense of one form of government, but another form actually exists, then the requirement of secrecy is absolutely vital. Before the conclusion of WWII this was largely accomplished by the "ownership" class through their ownership of the media and their control of all other institutions. But since then we have seen the growth of secret agencies within the government to the point where very little functions as portrayed in schools, media, and even entertainment. Thus, we see people like Edward Snowden, Julian Assange, Chelsea Manning and many other whistleblowers of government misconduct and publishers of state secrets so persecuted and hounded. Thankfully, there exists Wikileaks to help us unravel their dirty secrets.

This is what carbon climate feedbacks look like! Atmospheric monitoring shows dramatic 2015 CO2 emissions record unfolding

Click here to access article by Rolf Schuttenhelm from bits of science
...continued global warming will increase the likelihood of similar droughts – especially in the Amazon, leading to a positive climate feedback: elevated (fossil) CO2 emissions → higher average temperatures, increased droughts → extra (biosphere) CO2 emissions → further amplified warming, etc.

Sunday, October 11, 2015

Shadow Sovereigns: Susan George

Click here if you wish to access the source post from Transnational Institute (TNI)
Renowned scholar activist Susan George introduces her new book, Shadow Sovereigns - How Global Corporations are seizing power. She explains how corporations have taken over all branches of the government as well as international governance, in particular through trade treaties such as the proposed EU-US Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership.

Stephen Hawking confirms: The problem is Capitalism, not robots!

Click here to access article from the unbalanced evolution of homo sapiens.
According to world famous physicist Stephen Hawking, the rising use of automated machines may mean the end of human rights – not just jobs. But he’s not talking about robots with artificial intelligence taking over the world, he’s talking about the current capitalist political system and its major players.