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 Lapp√©, excerpt from Time for Progressives to Grow Up

Saturday, January 28, 2017

You’ll Never View Addiction The Same After Watching This Brilliant Video

Click here to access article by Amanda Froelich from True Activist. (Commentary edited for clarity at 5PM Seattle time.)

Although I haven't thoroughly studied the issue, this take on drug addiction makes a lot of sense to me. If Johann Hari is correct, and I think he is, then this would explain why drug addiction is viewed as it is presently is by ruling class authorities: they don't want Hari's research to undermine all their propaganda about the benefits of American capitalist society. History teaches us that whenever evidence of a sick society contradicts ruling class ideology, the latter will always be purveyed by their ideological institutions until they are forced by revolution to relinquish power.
Everything we thought we knew about addiction is wrong.

The Trump-Media Circus and Continuity of Agenda

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

This geopolitical analyst from New York argues essentially that "the more things [appear to] change, the more they stay the same." This was my position before the election, but others like Pepe Escobar, F. William Engdahl, and Michael Hudson take the view that there is a strategic divide among the directors of the ruling capitalist class: the Trump faction (aka "Rockefeller" faction) wants to pursue policies that want to seduce Russia away from China (the old divide and conquer strategy). Gunnar argues for his position by writing:
Imagine the United States is a corporation. It thus has a board of directors (Wall Street). It has a CEO (the US President). The candidates for CEO and the CEO are all chosen by the board of directors merely under the guise of “democratic elections.” The CEO then implements the desires of the unelected board of directors, serving also as a spokesperson for the board and a representative of the board’s overarching agenda.

This explains how, over the past 16 years from US President George Bush Jr. to now President-elect Donald Trump, singular agendas, including unending war in Iraq and Afghanistan, still rage and expanding confrontations with Russia, China, and Iran continue unabated regardless of who is president, and regardless of the alleged principles, political ideals, and campaign promises they respectively represented.

Rhetorically and ideologically, Presidents Bush Jr. and Obama could not have been any more diametrically opposed, yet the continuity of agenda from one 8-year administration to the other was almost seamless.
We will have to wait to see what Trump's administration actually does with regard to foreign policy. Regarding domestic policy I don't see any substantial gains made by any sector of ordinary Americans, and most will lose. One thing is certain: the capitalist rape of the environment will accelerate.

2 ½ Minutes to Midnight – Our World in Peril

Click here to access article by Robert Dodge from Common Dreams.
Nuclear weapons and climate change represent a clear and present danger. Retired Marine Corps General Anthony C. Zinni,  former commander of U.S. forces in the Middle East has stated, "We will pay for climate change one way or another. We will pay to reduce greenhouse gas emissions today, and we'll have to take an economic hit of some kind. Or, we will pay the  price later in military terms. And that will involve human lives. There will be a human toll."

We know what needs to be done and how to do it yet no one in a leadership role has shown the political courage to take the necessary steps.
This piece from the liberal website Common Dreams looks at two dire issues confronting humans, but their narrow ideological belief in, and support for, the status quo (the reign of capitalism) forces an uncritical reader into accepting their conclusion: appealing to the government of the capitalist ruling classes to behave themselves. This is an utter delusion. This is engaging in childish fantasy-thinking that no politically aware adult should be doing. 

The underlying problem that insures that both fates await us is a system that requires growth on a finite planet in order to exist and, at the same time, offers abundant rewards to a tiny class of people who rule over humanity and whose rule is sustained by that system. Because there is only one major problem, there is only one major solution! It's only the means to accomplish this solution that needs to be solved by humans. We must spend our time on that urgent task instead of being lead by those loyal to capitalism down dead-end roads that only lead to hell and our extinction.

Trump makes America great again

by Jos Collignon

Friday, January 27, 2017

The Working Class and Anticapitalism

Click here to access a 55 minute interview with Canadian political economist and activist David McNally from KPFA, a listener-sponsored radio station in Berkeley, California. 

McNally expresses his views on the political crisis of capitalism today and the challenges for new activist organizations that are needed to overthrow the rule of capitalists. He argues that the old cultural forms of resistance are no longer adequate given the "de-composition" of the older forms brought about by neoliberalism that began in the 1970s. 

He doesn't have a recipe for the new forms except that the new forms of resistance and activism must incorporate the advances made by the social identity and multi-cultural movements: feminism, anti-racism, alternative lifestyles, etc. Thus, there is a need to build a new anti-capitalist movement that is based on new sustainable models of organization that can bring all working people together (he accurately defines what it means to be a working person).

I found his overview of the dramatic changes needed by anti-capitalist activism in today's neoliberal world particularly useful. 

I have some other recommendations to add regarding future activist organizations. I believe there is the necessity to create a bottom-up authority system to replace the old hierarchical structures that capitalist organizations require, and which in the past too many activist organizations unconsciously adopted. Also I suggest that given the present prominent issue of "fake news", activists should take advantage of this by much greater collaboration in creating a truly independent media that serves working people. This latter institution, if it were successful, could furnish an energized impetus to create independent social, welfare, and educational forms free of influence from the ruling capitalist class. Then we would have a truly revolutionary movement.

The Empire Has No Clothes

Click here to access article by Paul Street from CounterPunch
It is longstanding bipartisan U.S. ruling class doctrine that the United States is the world’s great beacon and agent of democracy, human rights, justice, and freedom. American Reality has never matched the doctrine, and it didn’t under Obama, of course, but it is especially difficult to credibly align those claims with a candidate and now a president like Trump, who has openly exhibited racist, nativist, sexist, arch-authoritarian, police-statist, Islamophobic, pro-torture, and even neo-fascist sentiments and values.
I think in his description of the American image of itself, Street is referring to the sound asleep general American public. Now that they have an openly racist, sexist, sociopathic president, people have suddenly awakened and are shocked. That accounts for much of the sudden activism and protests. Well, I guess people waking up is a positive development no matter how it happens. I agree that it is necessary, but I think it is a long way from being sufficient.

Thursday, January 26, 2017

From Maverick To Lapdog: Trump Is Already Serving The Agenda Of America’s Oligarchs [article of the month]

Click here to access article by Whitney Webb from Mint Press News

Many independent writers/bloggers have tried to unravel some major mysteries associated with the new Trump administration, and (IMHO) this article is the best to date to unravel these mysteries. You may, like me, suffer information overload with this lengthy article because it is packed full of many important links that help explain, expand on, and document Webb's assertions on the extremely perplexing phenomena about which we have been reading/viewing in recent weeks in both alternative and corporate media. 

Kissinger is right about Trump when he said he had no values (see video in the post). What the war criminal Kissinger meant was that Trump was a sociopath like him, and the only values he had were the ones that all members of the capitalist ruling class have: expediency and opportunism in pursuit of profits and power.

Revolt is the only barrier to a fascist America

Click here to access article by Chris Hedges from Truthdig
We are entering the twilight phase of capitalism. Wealth is no longer created by producing or manufacturing. It is created by manipulating the prices of stocks and commodities and imposing a crippling debt peonage on the public. Our casino capitalism has merged with the gambling industry. The entire system is parasitic. It is designed to prey on the desperate – young men and women burdened by student loans, underpaid workers burdened by credit card debt and mortgages, towns and cities forced to borrow to maintain municipal services.
And he concludes this essay with an imperative with which I very much agree.
Revolt is a political necessity. It is a moral imperative. It is a defense of the sacred. It allows us to live in truth. It alone makes hope possible.

The moment we defy power, we are victorious. The moment we stand alongside the oppressed, and accept being treated like the oppressed, we are victorious. The moment we hold up a flickering light in the darkness for others to see, we are victorious. The moment we thwart the building of a pipeline or a fracking site, we are victorious. And the moment those in power become frightened of us, we are victorious.

I do not know if we can build a better society. I do not even know if we will survive as a species. But I do know these corporate forces have us by the throat. And they have my children by the throat. I do not fight fascists because I will win. I fight fascists because they are fascists. 

CNN Exclusive: Rep. Gabbard on meeting with Assad

Click here if you wish to access this 6:47m directly from The International Reporter.

US Congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard from Hawaii is interviewed by a well-trained and monitored corporate "newsman" and handles his propaganda-filled questions so deftly.
CNN continues with the false narrative assigned to it, Tulsi Gabbard very diplomatically puts them straight without calling them outright liars.   – Congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard just returned from a secret trip to Syria and told Jake Tapper in a CNN Exclusive said any reconciliation would have to involve Syrian President Bashar Al Assad.

Wednesday, January 25, 2017

China Just Issued a Nuclear Warning to Donald Trump and the United States

Click here to access article by James Holbrooks from AntiMedia.

It appears that that our Empire directors are greatly disturbed about the growing military, industrial, and economic strength of China. F. William Engdahl, Pepe Escobar, and Michael Hudson among others regard the Trump administration as representing (what might accurately be labeled as) a Rockefeller section of the US capitalist ruling class that intends to curb China's power by promoting policies to split the growing alliance between Russia and China, and increasing military and other threats against China. The Trump administration certainly furnishes evidence of this new US-led Empire strategy with phone contacts with government officials of Formosa, followed by continuing belligerent statements regarding China recently made by members of his administration as reported in this article, and the installation of THAAD missiles in the Empire's satrap of South Korea.

Missing from US corporate media coverage related to the issue of China's construction of military bases off its shore is the huge buildup of US military bases that almost surround China. Pilger in his recent film has dramatically pointed to this threat to China, and the New Internationalist cited additional evidence that suggests that the US Empire is preparing for war with China. 
Today, more than 400 American military bases encircle China with missiles, bombers, warships and, above all, nuclear weapons. From Australia north through the Pacific to Japan, Korea and across Eurasia to Afghanistan and India, the bases form, says one US strategist, ‘the perfect noose’.
China is not going to be bullied or intimidated nor is Russia going to split from its alliance with China. Thus, we are entering another very dangerous period in which a nuclear war threatens everyone on the planet. We were lucky the first time in the Cuban Missile Crisis under the more cool-headed Kennedy administration, but can we expect such luck with the hot-headed belligerents in the Trump administration?

Tuesday, January 24, 2017

A Short History of Liberal Myths and Anti-Labor Politics

Click here to access article by Sam Mitrani and Chad Pearson from CounterPunch.

Although I agree with much of this article, I also have serious criticisms. The article provides rich material for political consciousness raising--and to be sure, Americans need their consciousness raised from the low level where it presently resides. This latter observation is not a criticism of ordinary Americans so much as it is evidence of the ruling class's deliberate attempt to dumb down Americans and fill their heads with false dreams and a fake history that censors most of the realities of the history of class war.

For the positive parts of the article I like much of the real history that the authors present: the necessity of worker organizing to form a strong opposition to the ruling capitalist class. I also like the authors' exposé of the insidious role of liberals and social democrats to manage this opposition on behalf of capitalist interests.

This last category is extremely important to raise the political consciousness of ordinary Americans who have been fooled and manipulated countless times by liberals and social democrats who really serve the interests of capital. This is precisely the people whom Eric London wrote about in his article entitled "Wealth distribution in the United States and the politics of the pseudo-left". (See this post and my commentary because I'm not going to repeat myself.) 

This phenomenon of co-optation is a major weapon that the ruling capitalist class has used so effectively throughout history to manage opposition by workers. That is precisely why worker organizations must develop bottom-up authority structures in their organizations to counter this weapon. But workers must have a certain level of political consciousness, an understanding of their interests, and real understanding of labor history to function effectively in a bottom-up authority system. This presents a chicken-egg type of dilemma to which I don't have a good answer. Most ordinary Americans have been thoroughly indoctrinated to follow authority figures and conditioned to distrust each other; and likewise to look to powerful leaders, people who pretend to be in-the-know, or saviors for their salvation.

Now for my negative criticisms. The authors brief outline of history was faulty in the immediate post WWII period by labeling it as a labor "golden age". They didn't mention the backlash against labor unions that occurred during that period: the Taft-Hartley Act and the purging of radical labor leaders from unions during the McCarthy period. (For a good worker history of this period, see this.) To be sure workers enjoyed increases in wages and other gains, but this was solely due to the fact that US industry was completely intact whereas most industry in other advanced economies were destroyed because of the war. (The authors vaguely alluded to this reality.)

But the most damning criticism I've saved for last. The article was laced throughout by the theme of a "balance of forces" or "balance of power". This really represented their political view of labor and goal of organized labor in relation to the ruling capitalist class. Their unstated thesis is that labor should only strive to gain a powerful position and have their own political party to counter capitalist power so that they can insure that workers' interests are served. In their own words:
That is why the working-class needs its own political organization, one that puts its interests first. We need a political party that is not limited to elections, but recognizes that the mobilization of the working-class is the only thing that can change the balance of forces in our favor. Such a party would demand, at minimum, that no company making a profit should be allowed to lay off employees, and that if there is not enough work, any remaining work must be divided with no loss in pay. It would demand that corporate subsidies and tax breaks be banned, and that the wealthy and the corporations be taxed to pay for schools and services. We realize this is far from an original proposal, but the working-class has not had a political party representing its interests since Eugene Debs’s day.
Yes, indeed, it is "far from an original proposal"! The only new idea they advanced is that the Democratic Party does not serve workers' interests. But that's new?! This article is so typical of articles posted in CounterPunch. They pretend to be left-wing, but in fact they are thoroughly pro-capitalist in a mild sort of way...much like liberals and social democrats.

Monday, January 23, 2017

Trump's Infrastructure Plan: Public Investment, Private Profit

Click here if you wish to access the 15:02m interview and transcript with Michael Hudson posted on the Real News Network.

Besides what Hudson sees about Trump's infrastructure plan, he also comments about what he foresees as a Trump administration's attempt to break up the alliance between Russia and China, and Trump's attacks on the fake news outlets (corporate media).  

One Does Not Hate When One Can Despise: Derrick Jensen on Donald Trump and How We Got Here

Click here to access article by Derrick Jensen from Seven Stories Press. (This post was suggested to me by Caren and Christopher who operate a sustainable farm and teach classes in sustainable living in northwest Oregon.)
The primary function of Democrats and Republicans alike is to take care of business. The primary function is not to take care of communities. The primary function is not to take care of the planet. The primary function is to serve the interests of the owning class, by which I mean the owners of capital, the owners of society, the owners of the politicians.

We have seen over the last couple of generations a consistent ratcheting of American politics to the right, until by now our political choices have been reduced to on the one hand a moderately conservative Republican calling herself a Democrat, and on the other a strutting fascist calling himself a Republican. If we define “left” as being at minimum against capitalism, there is no functional left in this country.
I think he is a bit too negative here because I have witnessed in recent years a number of people (like Jensen himself) who are questioning capitalism as a system that is destroying not only human habitat but responsible for many other crimes against humanity. Like Jensen (see this as a prime example), many of these critics in the past have limited their target to industrial capitalism which suggests that their is another kind of capitalism that could work well if only we could reform it, but increasingly these critics (including Jensen) now blame the system itself for the ongoing assault on our lives and the environment.

Another criticism I have is that Jensen casts too much blame on the victims of capitalism and often seems to argue that we are intrinsically all racists, women haters, and suspicious of foreigners. This is placing far too much emphasis on social identity politics and not on the ruling capitalist class's favorite method to divide and conquer us by encouraging such behaviors and attitudes. 
The US is profoundly and functionally racist and woman-hating, nature hating, poor hating, and based on exploiting humans and nonhumans the world over. So why should it surprise us when someone who manifests these values is elected?
Still, the overall thrust of this article is very positive:
...movements emerge only through organized struggle. And someone has to do the organizing. Someone has to do the struggling. And it has to be you, and it has to be me.

A doctor friend of mine always says that the first step toward cure is proper diagnosis. Diagnose the problems, and then you become the cure.

You make it right.
Caren and Christopher also recommend this encouraging piece by James Corbett entitled "Chaos Out of Order". 
...we have to understand that we have been brought to this point for a reason. In order to get their new order, the powers-that-shouldn't-be had to generate this current chaos. The unprecedented levels of social, political and economic tension we are experiencing right now are part of a game plan. To reset the chess pieces, the board has to be knocked over first.

This presents us with a glass-half-full/glass-half-empty situation. When the game board is overturned, the would-be tyrants waste no time in getting to work, trying to arrange things to their liking.

But their control is not total. At times like this, when the glacial status quo has been liquefied and everything is in flux, we have an opportunity for true change.
Actually, in contrast to most Americans, I don't see that the Trump administration (as puppets of the capitalist puppeteers) portends a significant amount of change from the past. It might be refreshing to see them more openly and honestly (for example, see this) revealing their fascist nature which the other capitalist party often hid; and because of this, the Trump administration might generate more incentive for people to learn about what is really going on. 

Antarctic tipping points for a multi-metre sea level rise

Click here to access article by David Spratt from Climate Code Red (Australia).
The West Antarctic Ice Sheet (WAIS), comprising more than two million cubic kilometres of ice, is under pressure from a warming climate, with scientists saying its break-up –– and an eventual global sea-level rise of 3–5 metres –– is not matter of if, but when.
The West Antarctic Peninsula is now the strongest-warming region on the planet, and WAIS glaciers are discharging ice at an accelerating rate....

Sunday, January 22, 2017

More Than 50 Soros-Funded Groups Partnered With Women’s March On Washington [a best post]

Click here to access article by Aaron Kesel from We Are Change.

I believe that this is a very important article in order to raise the political consciousness from a sheeple-type consciousness that appears every four years when presidential elections are held and many "progressive" people rather suddenly become involved. Such people usually get involved behind a candidate (example, Bernie Sanders) that serves to shepherd progressive types into the slaughterhouse of the Democratic Party. 

In between the quadrennial election circuses, most people watch corporate TV and involve themselves superficially in front organizations (like MoveOn.org) funded by the ruling rich to keep them diverted from the real issues of class war. (I simply do not believe polls which report low public credibility of news and opinion from corporate media.) Given this scenario it is no wonder that around election time, people get so excited about issues of social identity, multiculturalism, and social welfare. 

Now before anyone gets their dander up over this criticism, I strongly support these issues. So much progress has been made over the past 50 years on social identity issues, and many of us have benefited. But issues of social identity and multiculturalism do not significantly interfere with the rule of the capitalist class which has so many deleterious effects on our lives. In fact, our masters often use social identity issues to manipulate us. Notice how our ruling capitalist masters used guilt over racism to push Obama into the White House. Obama's obvious African-American identity was literally only skin-deep.

To counter these manipulations by agents of the ruling capitalist class, genuine alternative websites are springing up all over the web, but at the same time the rich are funding many others to mislead the people. Whether the people or the rich ruling class wins this ideological battle will depend on efforts by the people to spend far more time educating themselves on political realities related to the ongoing class war: extreme inequality, poverty, crime, never-ending wars, and climate destabilization that is being accelerated by capitalism. This article serves as a very good beginning point for "progressives" to raise their political consciousness. 

Others with a more advanced understanding of class war must become more involved in a collaborative way. This means that they must examine and discard many behaviors and attitudes promoted by the extreme individualism that is fostered by the capitalist system. It is good that so many independent voices are spreading their messages over websites, but it is far more important to join their voices and resources together to wage war more effectively over our common enemy. 

Too many operate their websites like companies which compete with other companies (websites) for advertising dollars. The dependence on advertising dollars must be supplanted by reader donations and subscriptions, and we the people must support genuine independent websites as best we can. We also must drop our need to appear all knowing simply because no one has a monopoly on knowing. We must be willing to criticize the views and actions of other activists and analysts and accept such criticism in a collaborative spirit.

For example, I have run about a half dozen posts from ProPublica because the articles were were good on various issues. Fake progressive sites like ProPublica do this deliberately to bait and hook people on the left to their websites in order to ultimately lead them to dead-end activist projects. I erred in posting their articles, and no one brought this to my attention! I can't believe that none of the people who follow my website did not know about the backers of ProPublica as reported in this article.

While promoting this article, I do not endorse everything that is posted on the We Are Change website. For example, I condemn an article entitled "Top Scientist Resigns Admitting Man Made Global Warming Is A Big Scam" posted a year ago on their website. Well meaning people can always make mistakes, and I don't condemn their website because of this one post.