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, March 18, 2017

Michael Parenti: Fascism, The False Revolution, (both parts of his talk)

Click here to access a recording of the first part of Michael Parenti's talk in Berkeley, California in 1995 re-posted recently by Maria Gilardin on TUC (Time of Useful Consciousness) website as a podcast (available via MP3 or ITunes). You are encouraged to explore many other recorded insightful talks on this website. (I thank Dave Ratcliffe of ratical.org for alerting me to this podcast.)

Michael Parenti and Maria Gilardin are both my contemporaries who have added immensely to my understanding of WWII and post-WWII issues. In this podcast Parenti explains so many mysteries that are hidden in mainstream discourse about fascism and its history. As you can readily understand, his talk in 1995 is very relevant to what is going on in today's world.
Fascism, as Mussolini said “..should be more properly called corporatism, since it is the merger of state and corporate power.” And history, as told by Michael Parenti, shows that in all fascist societies, be it Italy, Germany, Japan, Spain, and into the present, corporate power increased. And that gain in power such as tax cuts, deregulation, subsidies for extraction of oil and minerals involves a loss of power, rights, environmental and workplace protection and wages for those who work for a living.
Click on this link to listen to the second part of his talk in Berkeley in which his goes into more detail of how many US corporations supported both the Italian fascists and German Nazis, the real history of the lead-up to WWII, and the same essential issues that we are facing today under advanced capitalism.

 http://tucradio.org/audio/parenti_fascism_false_revolution_two.mp3 

How The CIA And A Tech Startup Are Arming Police, Intelligence Agencies

Click here to access article by Eric Draitser from Mint Press News. (I am posting the article from this website because I couldn't get the full article from Draitser's website. Apparently it lies behind some sort of a paywall.)
The frightening implication is that this technology could eventually be used to stifle protest and halt communication among protesters. It is not hard to imagine police officers in major U.S. cities using the tech to harass and arrest protesters within specific geographical areas, cutting the legs out from under protests before they even begin.

Considering that police forces across the country are already fully militarized and employ military-style tactics, it would seem that BlueLine Grid is offering yet another potent weapon in the police state’s ongoing war against free speech and assembly. But it goes much further than that, as this technology is now quite literally the property of the CIA thanks to the undisclosed, but assuredly large, investment made in BlueLine Grid by the agency. And the connections to the police state and military-industrial-security complex run far deeper.

USA life expectancy vs. health expenditure 1970-2014 compared to other OECD nations

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

Ruccio uses data from solid sources to show how the US has the most expensive health care system but delivers the worst results in various measures of health. Worst finding of all is that because of the US emphasis of privatized health care, the rich top 5% live nearly 15 years longer than the bottom 1% of income earners. 

Friday, March 17, 2017

Eurasian Union can find the way to get rid of the Dollar

Click here to access article by F. William Engdahl from Katehon (Russia).

I don't like to post articles like this that don't really identify the source of comments made by a reputed author. However in this case I believe the comments are very likely those of Engdahl.
The most optimistic development on the world stage that I have seen in decades is what's coming out of Eurasia especially out of China and the Eurasian Economic Union, led by Russia and other countries, that is to build a grid.

... to build a network crisscrossing all of the land space of Eurasia of high-speed rail infrastructure, of deep water ports that make it virtually impossible for The North Atlantic Treaty Organization or for United States Navy to control choke points like the Malacca Straits for the oil deliveries to China and elsewhere. And with them, to create what I think is going emerge as a new alternative to the dollar as world reserve currency.

By the way, keep in mind that dollar as world reserve is one of the fundamental pillars of American hegemony worldwide since World War Two. The other being the US military as the largest military power on Earth.

An ignoramus fox guarding the henhouse of the environment

by political cartoonist Trevor Irvin

Thursday, March 16, 2017

The Rise of the American Bondholding Class

Click here to access article by Sandy Brian Hager from ROAR

Hager argues that "The concentration of the US public debt in the hands of the 1 percent has contributed to inequality and presents a fundamental threat to democracy." This is an interesting correlation, but I don't think it measures any kind of a decline in "democracy". I think that he has an extremely narrow concept of "democracy" (and he doesn't bother to define the term), and I find other problems with his mostly reassuring analysis. For example, he writes:
Foreign investors, especially China, fear that the Federal Government will “print money” to inflate away its growing debt burden. But the existence of a powerful group of domestic owners invested in the creditworthiness of the Federal Government should help to alleviate these fears. The wealthy households and large corporations that dominate domestic ownership of the public debt hold considerable sway within the political system and provide a powerful check against policies that might compromise the risk-free status of US Treasury securities.

A formidable “bond” of interests therefore unites foreign and domestic owners of the public debt.
I've read in numerous articles that China is now significantly reducing its holdings in US dollars because of this "fear". And I've read elsewhere which suggests that the Federal Reserve buys up whatever shortfall exists in the market whenever the US Treasury issues securities for sale. Because of the international reserve status of the petrodollar, inflation worries that would normally affect the US are absorbed by most of the world.

Of much more interest to me is the section where he describes some findings by the German sociologist Wolfgang Streeck in his new book Buying Time: The Delayed Crisis of Democratic Capitalism
In essence, what the transition from the tax state to a debt state means is that the Federal Government chooses to borrow from the bondholding class rather than taxing it. And in deciding to furnish wealthy households and large corporations with risk-free assets instead of levying taxes on their incomes, the debt state reinforces the existing pattern of inequality. This raises further questions about the long-term stability of current arrangements. The debt state is likely to persist into the foreseeable future, and the reason has to do in large part with the role played by foreign ownership of the public debt.
Thus I encourage you to read a review of his Streeck's new book posted in Truthout in December.

Memory, Fire and Hope: Five Lessons from Standing Rock

Click here to access article by Alnoor Ladha from Common Dreams

Although the other lessons are important, because of my website's theme I want to particularly focus your attention on the 5th lesson:
Although the various social movements around the world are portrayed as separate incidents that are particular to their local context, there is a growing awareness among movements themselves that we are uniting against the same antagonist: the deadly logic of late-stage capitalism.

Whether one is fighting for land rights in India or tax justice in Kenya or to stop a pipeline in the US, the ‘enemy’ is the same: a cannibalistic global economy that requires perpetual extraction, violence, oppression, in the service of GDP growth, which in turn, benefits a tiny elite at the expense of the world’s majority.

Wednesday, March 15, 2017

Most important today is to resist being discouraged

Click here to access article by Alina Perera Robbio from Granma (Cuba). 
...urgent work ... was discussed by the Network of Intellectuals, Artists, and Social Movements in Defense of Humanity during its 15th Encounter held here March 6-7, with more than 60 thinkers from Venezuela and other countries in attendance.

The gathering, entitled "Emancipatory communication or colonized homelands," took place in Marshall of Ayacucho Hall in the Casa Amarilla, and made clear that thinking from a humanist point of view exists in this world, but must be coordinated and become more agile in defending the peoples' truths.

Just minutes prior to the meeting's second day, Cuban Minister of Culture Abel Prieto Jiménez dedicated a few minutes to a dialogue with this reporter, and spoke of the times in which we live, insisting on the importance of the fight for critical, revolutionary thinking, saying, "The battle of consciousness and ideas must be won."
I couldn't agree more with the statement by Prieto Jiménez. I have argued this in an article that I posted last month entitled "Some observations and solutions about the contemporary class war being waged by our capitalist ruling class".

We, the people, have been feeling the effects of a class war that has been going on since the beginning of civilization. The current war is a one sided war waged only by the ruling capitalist class, and it's on us--only most remain unaware of their ongoing attacks on us. Their weapons serve to control our minds through their control of the indoctrination and misinformation agencies of education, corporate media, and entertainment. We simply must, if we have any hope of survival, organize our own institutions which serves our interests and a civilization that is in harmony with nature. I think the place to start is with an independent media network organized and funded by, and serves, working people.

Einstein on capitalism

Click here to access article by Albert Einstein in 1949 posted on libcom.org.

It's not rocket science or a theory of general relativity that might be hard for an ordinary citizen to understand. Nearly 70 years ago Einstein readily understood how the system of capitalism is dysfunctional for all people except capitalists. Although Einstein was a scientist working in the field of physical science, he readily saw the simplicity of this social-economic system--and you can too.

Tuesday, March 14, 2017

Stand for the Truth: A Government Researcher Speaks Out

Click here if wish to access a 31:32m video produced by Architects & Engineers for 9/11 Truth directly from their YouTube channel (under "Uploads").
 In August of 2016, a former employee of the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) began looking into the reports his agency had released years earlier on the collapse of the World Trade Center. What he found shook him to the core.

In this poignant half-hour interview, Peter Michael Ketcham tells his story of discovering that the organization where he had worked for 14 years had deliberately suppressed the truth about the most pivotal event of the 21st century.

Through his willingness to look openly at what he failed to see in front of him for 15 years, Mr. Ketcham inspires us to believe that we can all muster the courage to confront the truth — and, in so doing, finally heal the wounds of 9/11.

 


Frankly, I don't believe the story that Peter Michael Ketcham, a former employee of the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST), gave as an explanation why it took so long for him to question the official report. I have worked for two state agencies for a total of about seven years, and I know that word spreads very fast not to question certain agency beliefs. There must have been considerable pressure on not only NIST researchers, but people in a wide variety of government agencies not to question. 

Now it no longer matters to our capitalist ruling class masters that highly qualified people are slowly coming forward to explain that the official report was rubbish because this official version of reality has been firmly implanted into the brains of the vast majority of Americans. That is what Karl Rove meant when he said, "We’re an empire now, and when we act, we create our own reality". 

They do this with their control of careers, their control of media, and, if necessary, with lethal intimidation. They have done this, and continue to do so, with all our conceptions of reality that might affect the capitalist ruling class's opportunities for profit and power. (Please read and article by Karel van Wolferen for a much better explanation of this phenomenon.)

When ‘Disinformation’ Is Truth

Click here to access article by Robert Parry from ConsortiumNews.

After reading Chapter 2 of Nicholas Schou's book Spooked, I have come to admire Parry's work as an exceptionally honest, award winning journalist who courageously tried to report on some of the biggest US war crimes and criminal activities for the nation's leading media corporations. Well, he didn't last long in corporate media and started this website in 1995 in order to have the independence to express his views. (see Wikipedia's entry about Parry)

He develops a thesis that with a impetuous, "thin-skinned" Donald Trump as president, corporate media, Democrats, liberals, and neocons are excessively playing the Russia blame game that could very well lead to a nuclear war with Russia. And he ends the essay with the depressing fact that there are no honest journalists left in corporate media to even suggest such a possibility.
...as the Democrats and liberals join with the neocons in launching this New McCarthyism over Russia – and with people like Rachel Maddow leading the charge – what is arguably the most depressing fact is that there appears to be no Edward R. Murrow, a mainstream journalist with a conscience, anywhere on the horizon.

The Crumbling American Superpower

Click here to access article by F. William Engdahl from New Eastern Outlook

I'm sorry to provide so many bad news articles today, but it can't be avoided unless you want to live in fairy tale land of corporate entertainment. In this piece Engdahl provides solid data to indicate that America's infrastructure is in very bad shape; and because American industry has escaped to other countries in search of cheap labor and to escape taxes, we don't have the money to fix it.
A Wall Street-driven agenda of globalization of US manufacturing and out-sourcing of production has left America a hollowed-out, crumbling Superpower. Since the 1980’s the United States has significantly under-invested in both new infrastructure and in renewing old. As US multinational corporations moved their factories overseas to cheap labor production in Mexico, then in Asia, especially China, and elsewhere, they found tax loopholes that allowed them to walk away from supporting the country that as recently as the 1960’s was the world industrial economic leading nation. Today US corporations hold $2.4 trillion in overseas profits that they keep abroad to avoid US taxes.

Changing the story to hide the problem

Click here to access article by economist David Ruccio from Real-World Economics Review Blog
Mainstream economists have finally recognized the fact that workers’ share of national income has been failing. But they continue to formulate stories that deflect attention from the real problem, the relative immiseration of workers that has them falling further and further behind.

More Mideast Madness as Trump Prepares to March

Click here to access article by Eric Margolis from his blog. 

This is one of the most accurate general reports of the confusing wars engaged in by Empire forces that I have seen for several weeks.
We are now moving rapidly into stage II of Levantine Madness as the US boosts its intervention in the war-torn Mideast.

Five thousand US troops are back in Iraq to bolster the shattered nation’s puppet regime that is propped up by American bayonets. New Iraqi military formations have been formed, totally equipped with modern US M1 Abrams tanks, Humvees, and fleets of trucks. More US forces are on the way.

These US-financed Iraqi units are euphemistically called ‘anti-terrorism forces’ and are supervised by US officers.
For a more detailed report of the chess-like game being played by the Syrian Army, Turkish forces, Russian forces, US forces, and the Syrian Kurds, I recommend this piece entitled "Turkey Risks Isolation as it Approaches Manjib" by Salman Rafi Sheikh. You will learn that all of these players have separate interests. How all these "players" manage this complicated game is a mystery to me.

And if you can stand any more confusing analysis of this chess game, I recommend Martin Berger's take on the situation. He differs a bit from Sheikh in that he sees that the US is essentially trying to cut Russia out of the game. My head hurts!

Monday, March 13, 2017

Get your loved ones off Facebook

Click here to access article by Salim Virani from his blog. (Thanks to the people at the Titanic Lifeboat Academy for alerting me to this article. I have included in this post their excellent selection of a cartoon that graphically captures the essence of the article's theme.)



With the increasing revelations of corporate-CIA-police state collusion, this is a timely re-post of an article that urges people to resist the intrusions on their privacy that is ongoing, and evolving into a system of full-spectrum dominance by the ruling class over ordinary people . Facebook, like many other corporations, has been revealed to be an integral part of the ruling class's data collecting apparatus. Virani in this article has compiled from a number of sources the details of their collusion with other sections, which include both commercial and the police state complex of the ruling class to exploit this data for their benefit--not yours.

Sunday, March 12, 2017

PPPs lead to dangerous debts for developing countries

Click here to access article by María José Romero and Mathieu Vervynckt from Transnational Institute (TNI)

Although TNI is registered as a non-profit organization in the Netherlands, it was founded by the liberal think tank Institute for Policy Studies based in Washington DC. Because of its liberal origins TNI encourages the belief that capitalism can be modified to serve the public interest, and runs articles like this on their website that reflects this orientation.
For many years, public-private partnerships have been promoted by governments and financial institutions as a way to pay for development projects such as roads, schools and hospitals.
The World Bank is at the forefront of this push and advises governments on how to structure their PPPs. But it also ignores civil society campaigners’ concerns about the dangerous hidden debts that PPP projects can lead to.
The authors ignore the fact that the international financial organizations of the World Bank and the IMF were designed, shortly before the end of WWII, to serve the hegemonic interests of profit and power of US capitalists and other transnational capitalists (mostly the British) affiliated with the US-led Empire. Thus while explaining why such arrangements like PPPs are often exploitative of entire countries, they naively believe that once they inform the public such institutions and practices can be made to serve the public interest. In spite of this naiveté they do run useful articles like this that explain how policies promoted by the Empire's international financial institutions actually serve the interests of capitalists rather than the public.

How Come the CIA is World’s Hackfest Central Now

Click here to access article by Jean Perier from New Eastern Outlook.
Once Wikileaks released thousands of documents uncovering the extensive scope of the US CIA’s hacking, including a wide range of programs and backdoors that allow the wiretapping of smartphones, personal computers and even smart TVs, the whole world has once again had the chance to learn that it’s not the mysterious “Russian hackers” that pose the greatest threat to the international security, but rather the CIA itself. The tale of  “Russian hackers”, extensively used by the CIA and closely affiliated agencies in their propaganda war was used to whitewash American intelligence agencies who have established total surveillance over their own politicians and those governing foreign states.

Therefore, it is not surprising that today the CIA was subjected to extensive criticism both on the international stage and within the United States.

US ambassador to Israel: ‘Great advantage’ to Netanyahu

Click here to access article by Jonathan Cook from his blog. 
David Friedman is known for his support for the most extreme elements in Israel’s settler movement.

Rate of Ocean Warming Has Nearly Doubled Over Two Decades, Study Says

Click here to access article by Bob Berwyn from Inside Climate News
The rate of ocean warming has nearly doubled since 1992 compared with the previous three decades. And the warming has reached deeper waters, scientists reported Friday.

The findings are important because the world's oceans provide one of the best records of the excess energy trapped on Earth by increased greenhouse gases, largely from the burning of fossil fuels. As the seas heat up from climate change, the water expands and rises, causing coastal flooding and, in Antarctica, ice shelves to disintegrate.
[my emphasis]