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, February 11, 2017
Because the American capitalist class has, in my opinion, issued so much fake news and information about the Democratic People's Republic of Korean (North Korea), I am so proud to re-post this article by Maupin who has dug up some relatively unbiased reports (see this, this, and this) about our ruling class's favorite whipping boy. Considering he only sets the record straight about North Korea's nuclear weapons program, one can go further back to gain more objective information about the US role in the Korean War.
I especially recommend a book by Bruce Cumings entitled The Origins of the Korean War (v.1 of 2). You will learn that as in Vietnam, Korea was to be divided (under Soviet and US control) only temporarily until elections could be held to unify the country. But because our ruling masters feared a communist victory in the elections, they separated the country permanently and installed a friendly, right-wing regime in South Korea.You will learn how the US immediately allied themselves with Koreans who had long collaborated with their Japanese colonizers over the previous 35 years of Japanese brutal control.
Another book I recommend is by Dave Chaddock entitled This Must Be the Place published in recently in 2013. The US air force not only leveled the country, but also participated in biological warfare (BW). Chaddock after studying massive amounts of information on the subject concluded that our government did engage in BW in Korea and nearby China. Of course the use of BW is a major war crime, and no doubt it has been dubbed the "forgotten war" because of this war crime not to mention all the other nefarious reasons for the US interference in another country's civil war. (Officially the UN fought this war, but at that time the UN was under the complete control of the US.)
Our ruling masters made a massive effort to cover up their war crime by utilizing every medium of indoctrination at their disposal--corporate media, books and movies about "brainwashing", authority figures such as professors, threats to returning veterans who knew that we used BW, etc. Yes, there really is brainwashing (see definition #1 here), but not the fictional kind that our masters alleged was used by the Chinese and North Koreans to explain away what our masters claimed were false testimonies of veterans who confessed about the US use of biological warfare (BW) against the North Koreans and Chinese during the Korean War.
The challenge facing human civilization is sobering. But the challenge appears more manageable when it is connected to a narrative that is prepared to confront existing ownership relations. The struggle for democratic control of energy (and other key sectors) is today crucial for many reasons. Achieving such control over energy production, distribution, and use is a means (but not the only means) to confront the expansionist dynamics of the political economy while at the same time reconfiguring our approach to defining and meeting human needs on the basis of a more equitable distribution of wealth and a qualitative extension of democratic control over major economic decisions.
Energy systems controlled by ordinary people in partnership with well-run and accountable public agencies have the potential to manage and reduce energy demand for certain economic activities while providing electrical power to everyone for basic needs and truly sustainable forms and levels of human and social development.I recommend that you view the following 5:26m video by them (via YouTube) entitled "This Is What Energy Democracy Looks Like":
Apparently climate deniers feel with the election of Trump that they can come out of the dark closet and be believed. Right-wing websites such as Breitbart have given major coverage to a recent piece in the British Daily Mail that tries to discredit NOAA's scientists.
As a result of human activities, primarily the burning of fossil fuels, the planet is warming. Those who deny this fact have pointed to a supposed “pause” in warming to justify opposition to climate action. In 2015, a study led by NOAA’s Tom Karl was published in Science that flatly refuted the idea of a “pause.” It is one of many. But its high profile made it a target for attack.
On Saturday, a feature in the UK’s Mail on Sunday by David Rose makes outrageous claims that were already disproven as the paper version hit stands....
I like to listen to Dore as therapy to keep my sanity that is assaulted daily by corporate media. In this video Dore ridicules many of the lies and propaganda fed to us by corporate media which is the mouthpiece of the capitalist ruling class.
Friday, February 10, 2017
This question arose while scanning materials in an email I received from the founder of ratical.org, Dave Ratcliffe, which was titled "What To Do? Organize, Collaborate, Engage". In it he recommended articles from the Boston Globe and The Nation, and "Some sources to explore" that included the Pussyhat Project that was featured so prominently by corporate media in the recent Women's March in Washington DC.
After perusing a number of articles related to his organizing drive and my awareness that corporate media coverage is engaged in an ongoing attack on Trump's administration, I began to wonder if a major section of our ruling capitalist class (which I have identified as the "CIA faction") was not behind a drive to intimidate Trump so that he would go along with their neoliberal and imperialist agendas or else remove him from office and replace him with someone more suited to their interests. It appears to me that he has already succumbed to most of their imperialist agendas.
I recalled how Democratic operatives once again used a liberal candidate, Bernie Sanders, to sheep-herd the too-liberal younger generation back into the fold of the Democratic Party and thus to support the candidacy of Hillary Clinton. However she lost the election because she was so distasteful to Americans due to her pro-war views and activities, and many registered Democrats refused to vote for her. Ever since then corporate media has been on an aggressive campaign to discredit Trump's policies--many justifiably so--but I will argue that they are merely using these issues and liberal organizations to intimate Trump or get rid of him.
Trump's great weakness with a sizeable segment of the American population is his backwardness on social identity and multicultural issues, and the ruling class faction that is after Trump is targeting many of the people oriented strictly to these quintessentially liberal issues. Corporate media coverage of the Women's March, which heavily relied on Facebook to organize the march, was so dominated by coverage of the vacuous Pussyhat Project (see this and this) that I thought they were the same thing.
Look at the article in The Nation which he sent entitled "Your Guide to the Sprawling New Anti-Trump Resistance Movement". In it the authors cite the Pussyhat Project, MoveOn.org, Upworthy, and other suspicious liberal organizations. Upworthy's founder, Eli Pariser, has made a career of being associated with Soros-funded organizations, and of course MoveOn.org is well known to be funded by Soros and other major corporate donors.
Once the "CIA faction" of the ruling capitalist class accomplishes their goal of aligning Trump's policies with theirs or removing him from office, you can well expect that their use of these corporate funded liberal projects and organizations will largely end as well as the attacks on Trump through corporate media. Meanwhile all the efforts by ordinary Americans provoked by these corporate front organization will be wasted. They may well get rid of Trump to their enormous satisfaction, but the neoliberal and imperialist agendas will continue as before.
Thursday, February 9, 2017
This reviewer like many of the academic upper-middle class seems to have a tendency to avoid what they regard as an unthinkable solution for our survival: revolution. So in the review of Angus's book he constantly refers to "fossil capitalism", by which he means fossil fueled capitalism. This type of framing, which is typical of other members of this comfortable class like Naomi Klein, and not wanting to offend their capitalist masters from whom they have received so many benefits, suggests that there is another kind of capitalism that is sustainable. Ergo, revolution is off the table, instead we must look to a reform of the system.
Löwy clearly prefers Angus's book to Smith's which simply lays out a very convincing argument that nature and the human-made capitalist system are incompatible. Thus something has to give, and that something is clearly capitalism. But Löwy seems unsatisfied apparently because he expects Smith to provide a recipe for the elimination of capitalism.
Richard Smith’s point is perfectly coherent. The only remark I would make is the absence of mediation. How can we move from the suicidal train of capitalist civilization to an ecosocialist society? This question merits further examination.
It is surely axiomatic for all socialists that the impacts of human activity on nature need to be understood as products not of undifferentiated humanity, but of hierarchical, exploitative social systems – and, mostly, of capitalism, that has dominated the world economy since the industrial revolution.Along the same lines, you might be interested in a review of a book entitled Anthropocene or Capitalocene by Ian Angus in which he joins the debate and criticizes the author's point of view:
But I get the sense that some socialists, in their rush to reject the ideologised, neo-Malthusian Anthropocene narrative that environmental impacts are the fault of all humans....
We live in a time when decaying capitalism is destroying our planet’s life-support systems. To prevent political changes that would end their destructive rule, powerful corporations and politicians are actively promoting misinformation about Earth System science. Ignorance and obscurantism are on the march around the world.
But we are also seeing huge advances in scientific understanding of the Earth System and growing awareness that change is urgently needed. Realization that we have entered an unprecedented and dangerous epoch has triggered international discussions in which almost all participants agree that business as usual is a road to planetary disaster. Ideas once held by only a few radical environmentalists are increasingly accepted by scientists worldwide and are creating the possibility of a powerful science-based challenge to the present social order.
In this situation it would be a tragedy if straw-person arguments and fears of ideological contamination were to prevent the Left from engaging with scientists and joining the global discussion.
As the Trump administration's policies are taking shape, I've been wondering how the belligerent remarks made by Trump and his officials square with past indications that he wanted to improve relations with Russia. Sheikh looks squarely at this contradiction. This foreign policy appears to be another illustration of the quixotic nature of Trump's reign as he aggressively and recklessly tilts at so many windmills.
The policy towards Iran is, therefore, fundamentally different from the policy the Trump administration is probably designing towards Russia (read: Trump administration’s resolve to defeat the IS through joint action). Therefore, the key question here is: is the Trump administration looking for dividing the Russia-Iran relations—and if yes, can it do so?
U.S. veterans vow to block construction of Dakota Access Pipeline
by Jasmin Malik Chua, inhabitat
February 3, 2017
Energy Transfer Partners may complete the Dakota Access Pipeline yet: they just have to get past thousands of U.S. military veterans first. Returning to the Standing Rock Sioux reservation in North Dakota days after President Donald J. Trump signed an executive order reinstating the contentious $3.8 billion project, Veterans Stand has vowed to stonewall the pipeline’s completion. “We are committed to the people of Standing Rock, we are committed to nonviolence, and we will do everything within our power to ensure that the environment and human life are respected,” Anthony Diggs, a spokesman for the group, told CNBC. “That pipeline will not get completed. Not on our watch.”
The group, which served as “human shields” for protestors at Oceti Sakowin camp, just south of Bismarck, in December, have raised over $75,000 since launching a GoFundMe campaign last week. Veterans Stand is looking to raise $500,000 to purchase supplies such as food, firewood, propane, and first-aid kits, as well as arrange car rides for volunteers to and from the camp.
We Need You Now: Final Easement for DAPL Appears Imminent
Camp of the Sacred Stones
International Indigenous Youth Council
Indigenous Environmental Network
January 31, 2017
The Standing Rock Sioux will soon march on Washington.
by Sabrina Imbler, grist
February 3, 2017
On Wednesday, the tribe announced that the Rise With Standing Rock Native Nations March will happen in D.C. on March 10. That’s more than a month before the March for Science and the People’s Climate March.
#NODAPL 2017 ACTION HUB
Help us fill every single day of this calendar with a #NoDAPL action! Wherever you are, take action to kill the black snake.
Wednesday, February 8, 2017
Whether its the neo-nationalist new-money faction of Trump-Bannon or it’s the old-money Clinton, Bush, Koch Brothers, Kissinger faction, we know that the capitalists give all of them their marching orders. The primary goal of both parties is to protect capitalism and undermine any attempts to regulate, let alone change, the economic system that is driving the majority of us into the ground.
Making demands is for those who accept their subservience
.... The problem with all these “demands” is that they are demands. There is no promise to take power. The implication of demands is that there is someone in power that is in a position of granting or refusing the demands. It accepts the capitalist rulers and complains they are not fair and just rulers. Demands are the plea to make ones in power be better leaders.
I’ll march for a socialist transition program
Tuesday, February 7, 2017
I wake up in the morning with the aid of a radio alarm set for Seattle's jazz station which carries many NPR programs--likely because of economic reasons. This morning through the fog of sleepiness I began to hear an NPR news program in which some person from Amnesty International was reporting about torture under the Syrian government. Because I had posted an article recently about Amnesty and their collaboration with the White Helmets, my ears immediately perked up. Then I heard the NPR narrator making the point that Syria was supported by Iran and Russia. I had been hit with another piece of fake news reporting!
I swear to god--it's everywhere! That's because the rich capitalist class owns nearly every medium of communication and they are constantly working to insure that we are on board with their imperialist aims and interests.
NPR began in 1967 under Lyndon Johnson's administration. It was like Medicare, the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, and various welfare programs set up under what became known as the Great Society program of his presidency. I think all these programs were promoted to distract the shocked and grieving American public away from the Kennedy assassination in which Johnson had likely participated.
Over the years government funding of NPR has been greatly reduced to what it is now only a trickle. NPR is now mainly funded by the rich ruling class through foundations such as Soros's Open Society Institute, and of course NPR's content tends to reflect this class's interests of profit, power, and the promotion under their control of a new world order.
I am posting this because its author is a well-respected critic of the existing power structure and all of its manifestations, but I find his arguments about resisting this status quo lacking in convincing political substance. I've often wondered what the ideology of his politics were, and this piece really lays them out. To me, it sounds like libertarianism, although I think they might qualify that as libertarian anarchism. I also learned that his thinking is very similar to James Corbett who has been a proponent of technology has furnishing a means of confronting "the powers that be" (I hate that expression!) in an alternative way.
I use "the powers that be" expression deliberately because I think both of them, along with many other activists, regard the capitalist ruling class as invincible if opposed head on, or maybe they don't see any alternative. And they consider the latter as consisting of only protests and militant demonstrations against "the powers that be". This I think reveals a lack of imagination and a lack of understanding of what humans are really up against and ways to carry on a revolutionary struggle. It may also reveal a desire to keep things quite the same because they personally are very comfortable, and they don't want to rock the boat too much for fear that it might affect their comfort.
I don't have time, or maybe the ability, to really take apart their activist ideology, but I can't let their politics go as a promising form of resistance pass unchallenged. I have been an activist for over 60 years in which I grew from a petition-signing person trying to convince our immediate masters in the government to behave better, to a protestor and militant demonstrator, all the way to a convinced revolutionary.
The capitalist system can tolerate many forms of alternative economic practices as long as they don't disturb the system. They also welcome these alternative practices because they see them as sort of experiments of doing business; and whenever they succeed, they will be integrated into corporate practices. This is precisely what has happened to much of the organic food movement. I've watched it from the sidelines since the 1960's when it began, and it hasn't interfered with business as usual one iota for the capitalist governing class.
The same goes for technology. I remember reading articles by James Corbett extolling the virtues of what he calls a new "peer to peer economy" illustrated by entrepreneurs using the internet in creative ways to rent out extra rooms in their houses or to use their vehicles to earn money transporting people. And sure enough Uber company has taken control of this latter service and earning huge salaries for their officers. There is growing criticism about this company. I think the same is likely true of Airbnb and maybe Bitcoin.
Monday, February 6, 2017
I listened to this yesterday shortly after my posting deadline; and although I've posted similar material, I think it is so well done that I am posting it today. The unnamed excellent narrator begins by citing the manipulation of social identity issues.
In this 2012 lecture Pilger tried hard to present a critical analysis of the distorted feminism that the ruling class has used to subvert and transform genuine feminism into serving the US-led Empire. By doing this, he provided another illustration of how our capitalist masters have misused and transformed social identity issues to divert our attention away from the class issues of capitalism that is the basis of everything tormenting us today--extreme inequality, mountains of debt owed to our masters, never-ending wars, etc.
But, as you can see, his voice in Melbourne had little effect. That is because our masters own every significant means of communication and they don't permit ideas like this to be distributed widely. It is obvious that we must save ourselves and our planet from the ravages inflicted both on our societies and the planet from the rule of these self-serving, crazed people. But will we??? They and their system of capitalism have ended up owning everything we have created and are obsessively waging one war after another in order to rule the world.
Even though people still cling to the fiction that Congresspeople represent us in a democratic society, it is clear from this 15:52m video that many people, especially young people, are viewing this fiction more cynically and are asking questions that are embarrassing to those people in the government who are serving the capitalist system, and not us. In addition, I thought this segment of the show so hilarious that I am posting it also for your entertainment. In these troubling times we all need a little humor.
Sunday, February 5, 2017
Karl Rove’s Prophecy: “We’re an Empire Now, and When We Act, We Create our Own Reality” [a must-read]
Those with much power got away with excessive extralegal use of it since the beginning of this century because systems of holding the powerful to account have crumbled on both sides of the Atlantic. ....This quoted passage confirms my own perceptions about the astonishing campaign of fake news and commentaries found on corporate media. When the ruling capitalist class got away with 9/11 with such dramatic success, they knew then that they could tell any lies to Americans and it would be believed. Such lies are the threads that make up the entire fabric of ruling class ongoing propaganda that has become for most of us our "reality".
The best way, I think, to make sense of how this works is to study it as a type of intimidation. Sticking to the official story because you have to may not be quite as bad as forced religious conversion with a gun pointed at your head, but it belongs to the same category. It begins with the triggering of odd feelings of guilt. At least that is how I remember it. Living in Tokyo, I had just read Mark Lane’s Rush To Judgment, the first major demolishing in book form of the Warren Report on the murder of John F. Kennedy, when I became aware that I had begun to belong to an undesirable category of people who were taking the existence of conspiracies seriously. We all owe thanks to writers of Internet-based samizdat literature who’ve recently reminded us that the pejorative use of the conspiracy label stems from one of the greatest misinformation successes of the CIA begun in 1967. [my link]
So the campaign to make journalists feel guilty for their embarrassing questions dates from before Dick Cheney and Rove and Bush. But it has only reached a heavy duty phase after the moment that I see as having triggered the triumph of political untruth.
We have experienced massive systemic intimidation since 9/11.
But notice that he stops short of any mention of the system that drives our masters to engage in such massive lying. Perhaps for him that dragon poses a too severe threat to his career.
(You will have noticed a fairly common response when the 9/11 massacre enters a discussion. Smart people will say that they “will not go there”, which brings to mind the “here be dragons” warning on uncharted bits of medieval maps.)
It appears that the same-old, same-old ruling class hangout of Wall Street is taking the reigns of government once again from the ego-driven real estate magnate, Donald Trump, and is turning him into their puppet. Surprise, surprise! This report furnishes another illustration of the capitalist version of "democracy": "The more things change, the more they remain the same."
President Donald Trump is handing the U.S. economy "back over to Wall Street" on Friday, with a regulatory rollback that critics say could put consumers and the financial system at risk.But don't be misled into thinking that the Dodd-Frank law was anything to celebrate. It was very weak and filled with all sort of holes for clever capitalists to gamble with their wealth (and the economy) similar to what occurred before the 2008 collapse. Trump with the advice of Wall Street bankers just makes it easier for them.
According to the Wall Street Journal, Trump signed executive orders Friday "establish[ing] a framework for scaling back the 2010 Dodd-Frank financial-overhaul law" and rolling back an Obama-era regulation requiring advisers on retirement accounts to work in the best interests of their clients. That rule was set to go into effect in April.
Trump signed the orders after meeting with bank CEOs.
And Daniel Lazare of ConsortiumNews, in an article entitled "Steering Trump Back to Endless War", sees many indications of a similar phenomenon in Trump's foreign policies.
Under capitalist "democracy", the choices in ruling class elections, which they insist constitute "democracy", always represent the same winner--the capitalist ruling class. If only Americans could see that through the dense fog of their ideological brainwashing! If they could see that, they might not be so fooled and played with every election cycle. Then they might see that ownership of significant economic property, which working people like themselves created or developed, must belong to all the people in order to serve the needs of all of the people. Then they might see that invading other lands and killing people are nothing more than a war crimes, and hold people who did, or advocate, such things as criminals and treat them accordingly.
Nearly six years after the initial explosion caused a catastrophic meltdown at the Daiichi nuclear power plant in the Fukushima prefecture of Japan, the situation has suddenly taken a drastic turn for the worst. Last Thursday, Tokyo Electric Power Company (TEPCO), the company which owns and operates the now defunct power plant, announced that radiation inside the containment vessel of one of the plant’s failed reactors has now reached levels undetected since the disaster first occurred in 2011. Radiation inside the reactor has reached 530 sieverts per hour, a drastic increase from the previously recorded 73 sieverts per hour recorded in the aftermath of the meltdown. The level of radiation is so high that an official of the National Institute of Radiological Sciences told the Japan Times that medical professionals have never considered dealing with this level of radiation in their work.I remember viewing last month a sixty minute PBS TV program called "The Nuclear Option", funded by billionaire David Koch, which pretended to deal with nuclear power from an objective point of view. The more I watched the program the more I was convinced the it was clearly designed to allay fears about Fukushima and to promote the safety of nuclear power which capitalist enterprises will clearly need to ward off the threat of climate destabilization and increasing costs of drilling for hydrocarbons.
The broadcast of this program was not produced by neutral scientists. It happened because a billionaire capitalist wanted it to be broadcast in order to fill our minds with disinformation about nuclear energy to conform to that of his and his class friends' interest to develop this source of energy in order to keep their engines of profit and power running. What needs to be understood is that this propaganda program is, as always, broadcast because of huge contributions by capitalists. It's just that usually it's not nearly so obvious because they often prefer to hire upper-middle class intellectuals to do it in their name or their organizations' name. The same principle applies to history books, print and electronic media, educational institutions in general, and even in entertainment provided by Hollywood, etc.