Friday, October 24, 2014

In response to "Broken young lives hard to fix" By Clive McFarlane TELEGRAM & GAZETTE,

So the police are focusing on the problem youth, 105 of them, at the heart of a "subculture of young people living outside the rules and constraints of this city's civil community." 

They got that way because of "...early and prolonged exposure to violence, abuse, neglect, living in poverty and with family members involved in criminal activities, and with racism." 

Commenters point to lack of fathers, but what about lack of jobs? 

Chief Gemme's response is probably appropriate, what else can the Worcester PD do? But this is the tip of a much bigger problem: thousands, perhaps tens of thousands of young people who have never had and have no hope of ever having what my generation would consider a "good job". Many grew up fatherless because their birth father couldn't find or hold a good job either. 

By a "good job" I mean a "bread-winner" job which you can raise a family on, steady work with good pay and benefits and some assurance you won't be fired without good cause. Today many regard  temporary work for $15 an hour as good, which is ok if you have only yourself to support, but even those are few, fleeting and far between. 

The core problem is that THERE AREN'T ENOUGH JOBS! And the competition for the few jobs there are is driving down wages and conditions, making "benefits" a thing of the past. If you doubt this, go explore the BLS statistics for "Employed" and "Employment Population Ratio" at   and see if YOU can find a "recovery" there! 

In the meantime Governor Patrick has been sitting on some $16 Billion (with a B) in money for projects that could put tens of thousands back to work for 4 or 5 years, money authorized by the Legislature that he never chose to borrow and spend - despite record low interest rates. Congress and the Obama Administration, with the power to go after the unspent Trillions (with a T) that the billionaires and big corporations are sitting on, have utterly failed to tackle the task. 

And young people with no hope and no future get into trouble and throw their lives away. 

Friday, October 17, 2014

Ebola crisis, why now?

The failure of hospital workers to follow protocols and adequately protect themselves from the Ebola virus is something that should have been addressed a long time ago on a national scale and updated annually. Doing it on the fly will probably not work out well. There are grounds for being deeply suspicious of the integrity of the CDC, but it is a fact that their budgets have been cut steadily by a myopic Congress more intent on funding the US efforts to screw over the rest of the world and rescuing bankers from the consequences of their crimes than with meeting the needs of the folks who elected them.
Anyone who has trained in the use of haz-mat protection gear knows that understanding how to use it in theory is the easy part.  The hard part is retraining a lifetime of habits and becoming mindful of where every part of your body is and what it's doing. I've only trained in nuclear and chemical hazards, where a degree of screwup leads to a degree of contamination, and that was struggle enough.  "Humbling" is a good word for it.  
A situation which is binary, where even a fraction of a degree of screwup could be for keeps, is a far greater challenge.
Tens of thousands, then millions of health care and public safety workers will have to learn how to handle bio-hazard protective gear perfectly, without mistakes. Often they will have to learn without experienced trainers, without sufficient equipment to spare, under pressure of time and fear. To say that training videos will be no substitute is beyond understatement. Anxiety and urgency do not foster clarity, and learning this routine above all requires clarity of mind.  Overcoming habits takes time, drillling under supervision, measuring results, reflection and trying again. And it takes equipment to spare.  
When we look at how the US has handled public health emergencies in recent years - Hurricaines Katrina and Sandy spring to mind - it is easy to imagine that such massive screwups involved some kind of conspiracy. And there have certainly been enough demonstrable conspiracies going around to support that suspicion.  Plus, the large and growing bio-warfare establishment is real, malignant, and active in West Africa.  We should write nothing off at this point.
However, let's not ignore the part being played in this unfolding fiasco by
* the accumulated neglect, decay and collapse of our once great nation's entire civilian infrastructure,
* the loss of our moral center and social contract,
* the decay of our healthcare, public health and civil defense capabilities,
* the weakening of our population's resistance to disease due to unchecked pollution and contamination of our air, water and food,
* half the population weakened by the struggle with poverty and housing issues, a third suffering some degree of malnutrition
* the epidemic of depression, despair and hopelessness brought on by mass unemployment.
If the outbreak of this Ebola crisis was not planned to coincide with the imminent economic collapse, it is nevertheless not unrelated.

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Gold Standard is no cure


Why is the Gold Standard Urgent?  by Keith Weiner
This good well-reasoned article ends with a logic failure and leap to an unsupported conclusion.  
Weiner writes:
"When the rate keeps falling, the borrowing keeps rising. Is there a failure point for debt?
"... What happens when an entire society doesn’t save?
"Our financial system has suffered an escalating series of crises. Each crisis has grown out of the fix applied to the previous one.
"The crisis of 2008 was different. No matter what the Fed has attempted, they have not been able to create even the temporary appearance of recovery (other than in asset prices). It’s not merely that growth will be slow, or slower than it should be in some theoretical ideal economic world.
"There will be no recovery while our monetary cancer rages, unchecked...."
Well put. Very well put.  But then he jumps to:
"We must rediscover the gold standard, which is the only cure."
Not so clear. I know, there are theoretical arguments that this should work, but what does the historical record show?
The founding of the Fed was not just simply a criminal conspiracy.  It took place during the 30-year "Long Depression" that began in the 1880's and ended with World War I, an economic and social crisis that saw the rise of populist, labor and mass socialist movements throughout the world including in the US.  By the time the smoke had cleared from that crisis, most of the old Russian Empire had repudiated capitalism and Germany had nearly followed suit.    
The next big lurch into fiat currency occurred during and just after the Great Depression, beginning with Roosevelt's confiscation of private gold holdings and crowned by Bretton Woods.  That crisis ended with the Soviet Red Army occupying Eastern Europe and Berlin, communist-led movements overthrowing old colonial empires, and the "fall of China".  By 1955 the terrified global bankers were hiding behind the threat of a world-destroying nuclear armageddon to save their system and their skins.  
The final lurch into a fiat currency world began during another profound system crisis in the 1970's, at a time when world capitalism appeared to be lurching back into depression. A depression my professors in the '60's swore could never again happen and would never again be allowed. The response was the final unpegging of the dollar from gold, followed by the unleashing, step by step, of what became today's de-regulated, financialized bubble economy, where money flows like water from the Fed, the central banks and great banking houses, where "value" and "price" have been fully conflated. 
Seen apart from this historical context, the rise of central banking and fiat currency can be modeled as simply a criminal conspiracy.  But in historical context, it appeared as a succession of apparently successful emergency responses to emerging systems failures.  But if that is how we should understand it, then it is hard to see how fiat money could be the root problem of the crisis, or how reverting to the gold standard could be the cure.
Which is not to say that gold won't play a key role in the global drama that's unfolding.  I'm just saying that it's illogical to jump to the conclusion that reverting to a gold standard alone could fix a crisis that predates and perhaps precipitated its abandonment.  
If we conclude that some underlying condition, problem or set of problems must have been driving the system into depression and mass unemployment over a century ago, and if we conclude that is what must have forced our grandparents' and great grandparents' generations to abandon the gold standard, then we should assume this underlying problem or condition must still be there waiting for us.

Monday, October 13, 2014

German Journalist Blows Whistle On How The CIA Controls The Media

Ever wonder how the doctoring and suppression of news and the propagation of lies through the mass media is organized?  How could so many intelligent, able and seemingly honorable people, many of whom started out with youthful idealism, be induced to cooperate with such a disgraceful and damaging travesty?  If so, you should take a look at this:

   German Journalist Blows Whistle On How The CIA Controls The Media
“I was bribed by billionaires, I was bribed by the Americans to report…not exactly the truth.”

- Udo Ulfkotte, a former editor of one of Germany’s main daily publications, Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung
Essential reading.  For a world where the good guys win more often than you hear about. 

Argentina defies US Judge

Aug 20, 2014
Argentina, which thought it had put the last crisis behind it with an IMF-brokered settlement and which has successfully been meeting those obligations, has now had the settlement invalidated by a New York Federal judge, and has been thrown into a sudden solvency crisis.

As is quickly becoming apparent, Argentina's rejection and defiance of the judge's ruling is a direct challenge not just to a New York court or some Wall Street investors, but to the Empire itself.  It's not purely accidental that Argentina should be the first vassal state to do this.  The Empire could and would have squashed Greece like a bug last year, before the BRICS development bank, before Russia's challenge to the dollar, and given its size and location.  The Empire must and will try to crush Argentina now, because 100 other countries are watching and will attempt their own breakouts if it escapes.  
What are the Empire's options here?  Probably not a military assault; Argentina is much easier to defend than Greece, and much has changed in the world over the past year. Argentina is much larger, better organized and more self-sufficient.  Of the US-controlled nations from which military aggression could be launched, Paraguay could easily be pressured by Brazil, and Chile is on the other side of the Andes Mountains.  Since the fall of the Soviet Union the Medeterranian is virtually a US-owned lake, but the only naval base the Empire has near (or, arguably, within) Argentina is in the Falklands.
The greatest threat Argentina faces is from its own military, with its ties to the US and a history of US-supported coups.  That same military however does have a recent history of challenging the Empire over the Falklands.  The Argentine government and leaders must move quickly to reorient its military toward Russia, China and especially Brazil, and to purge or sideline the officers who are known to be overly tied to the Pentagon and the US Embassy.  
It seems like everyone on this site (ZH) loves to diss the government of Venezuela.  But the turning poiint there was when the Venezuelan military, with US help and direction, staged a coup and took President Chavez prisoner, and the junior officers and rank and file troops rebelled and in 24 hours forced the top brass to back down.  That was the critical event when Venezuela passed outside US control.  This was possible because the entire people, including the members of the armed forces, were part of the national conversation about Venezuela's dilemma, about Latin America's dilemma.  
Argentina will soon face such a moment.  The future is unknown, but the formation of the BRICS bank has radically improved their odds.  This is a critical moment for Russia, China, India, Brazil, South Africa and other Latin American nations, a fateful test of their understanding and commitment to the project they have declared.

Celebration of the Revolution of 1774

July 2014

One of the greatest misconceptions that the American people are crippled by is the conflation of our Revolution with the Revolutionary War - and hence the conflation of "revolution" with "war".  Over and over I have seen people I am talking with come up against that and be stopped by it.
Our history books and the stories we teach skip from the "foreplay" - the struggle of the Colonial merchants and traders with England that built up over a decade leading to the Boston Tea Party in 1773 - almost straight to the start of the Revolutionary War in 1775, with a bridge story about conspirators led by prominent Bostonians meeting in attics and back rooms to plot an armed revolutionary uprising.
The problem with this narrative is that it leaves out the revolution itself!  
Now for the first time in almost 200 years preparations are underway to celebrate the revolution of 1774, with thousands of reenactors preparing to act out the drama of some of its events.  This is a story America badly needs, one that should be broadcast far and wide.
Check it out:

Becoming a fascist soldier

Regarding a profile of three Ukrainian Right Sector soldiers:

Is this a made-up story?  Maybe. Maybe some part is made up, but it feels about right to me.  
Pavel, Ruslin and Dmitri aren't the kind of monsters we might expect of fascists.  They might not even be fascists yet. Hannah Arendt, writing about Adolf Eichman, coined the phrase "the banality of evil", and these three certainly fit, but all is not fascist that's banal.
Our three captors seem to be carrying around enough hate and anger to be willing to kill, and with time they'll learn to focus it on the hate object of the day, starting with Russians. (Other Russians, not themselves of course!) They seem to have nothing they believe in or care about enough to die for, except to prove something about themselves. Backed by enough weaponry to feel invincible they'll act tough and brave, but when faced on equal terms with battle-hardened soldiers who care enough about their cause - and each other - to die for them, they'll turn and run. 
Sometimes terrified, humiliated and shamed by much less heavily armed partisans, they'll feel powerful and invincible taking their revenge on unarmed "enemy civilians".  Endlessly abused and denegrated by their commanders and foreign "advisors", they'll strut with pride in their skill at killing and the thrill of seeing the fear of their victims.  Thus they will, if they live long enough, grow into their fascist roles and become the murderous but ultimately cowardly bullies you'd expect.
Veterans of the wars in Iraq, Afghanistan, Vietnam and Korea may recognize their type: "allied troops" who were great at torturing and killing prisoners and unarmed civilians, but turned and ran in disorder all the way to Pusan in 1950, panicked at Pleiku and ran all the way back to Saigon in '75, and dropped their guns and their pants and ran for their lives before ISIS last month at Mosul. 

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

How do we think about the Hong Kong protests?

The revelation that grassroots revolutions like the one unfolding in Hong Kong are not what they seem or claim to be is a step toward understanding. But like every "theory of everything" this needs to be explored to discover the boundaries of its usefulness. 
Two things need to be distinguished here: the grassroots revolutionary impulse and the organization of a revolution. 
The revolutionary anger in the minds and hearts of the regular people, the "grass roots", is very real, and smolders all around us, pretty much everywhere.  It is as real here among my neighbors, a mix of working class, middle class and small entrepreneurs, as it is in Hong Kong, though not burning as brightly yet. But the anger and impulse are insufficient in themselves incapable of generating much more than mayhem followed by greater repression.  
The actions and "propaganda" (propagating of ideas, be they based on truth or falsehoods) of "highly-organized ... conscientious and professional organizers" is the other side of a revolution, providing the essential organization, coordination, communication and allignment on direction and purpose. 
This is where it gets tangled and convoluted.  Organizing, especially when taken beyond the level of organizing a small community, local interest group or a single shop, takes money and resourses - to support and train organizers and administrators and for communications.  Plus, the legacy of organizing during normal times is tied to the system by the necessity of winning concessions from power and is not so easily pried away even when the need becomes urgent. 
The organizers themselves may emerge from and swear their loyalty to the grass roots.  They may be recruited from the grass roots and swear their loyalty to the agency that recruits them, while in their hearts believing they and that agency work for the grass roots from which they came.  Or they may be trained and injected into communities, some as conscious agents and others naively believing that their imitation of grass roots activism is or can become real.
Yet, although revolutions may look synthetic when seen through this lense, the threat and power of revolution still smolders unquenchably in the grass roots, in the hearts and minds of the people whose oppression is integral to the system they draw their living from.  It is a powerful well of instability underlying every modern society.
Ruling classes and factions, in their battles with each other, have learned how to draw on this power - the revolutionary anger of the people, the grass roots, against their rivals at home and abroad.  They increasingly bring to bear resources of money, skills, modern social science, networks of informers, paid agents and most especially the science of manufacturing and propagating illusions.  This has arguably found its highest expression in the art and science of the "color revolution".
The people of Hong Kong and China now face a terrible dilemma.  The just aspirations and righteous anger of the regular people is evidently being mobilized by secret forces - foreign nations and their domestic collaborators - whose aim is the destruction of their very nation.  The result will be the plunder and ruin of everything they and their ancestors have won in bloody battles and built with generations of work and struggle. But their way forward can't just be a defense of the status quo, which is in any case collapsing.
This drama puts us also, we in "the belly of the beast", in a dilemma.  
Everything in us cries out to support the protesters in Hong Kong, who are fighting for what we also believe.  The yearnings and anger of the grass roots flaring forth there is clearly genuine. Yet the timing of this rebellion and the overwhelming evidence of recent history lends strong credence to the Chinese government's claims that it is being controlled by sinister forces directed against Chinese sovereignty.
If that this is probable, or that it could be leading the Chinese people to disaster, was still unclear to anyone, the ghastly spectacle in Ukraine should dispell all doubts.
This same dilemma is reflected here in the West.  Two fundamental principles that some of us live by, loyalty to our people and resistance to the wars and madness of Empire, are once again being placed in opposition. Our challenge is to refuse to choose, in spite of all evidence, but to rather insist on and continue to seek a break-away of the grass roots organizers from the control and hidden agendas of the puppet-masters.
Perhaps there's a silver lining to the horrifying gathering global system collapse. The oligarchs, as they turn on each other with ever greater ferocity and exploit the revolutionary anger of their rivals' "grass roots" against them with ever greater recklessness, will destroy the illusions essential to their control. We can hope the webs of grass roots organizers and leaders will at some juncture break free and take the reins of the rebellion in their hands on behalf of the people they work with. 
It won't happen tomorrow, it won't be pretty and it won't happen everywhere at once. But it's a possible dream, and that is something we urgently need.
So dear reader, if your thinking has led you to a conclusion which seems to leave no space for a future, consider. A future will happen with or without your participation, and it won't look like the past.  Your challenge is to find your own way out of your mental cul-de-sac.  I've offered you mine, knowing yours will be different.  

Monday, September 29, 2014

Mother of all Economic Crises - Soon.

I will go through this soon and supply links to support and explain my claims and statements!  -CH


It is being argued that the world's financial stability can be extended, following the end of the US Fed's program of "quantitative easing", by the Bank of Japan and European Central Bank taking up the burden and starting to massively inject liquidity into the markets.

So is this possible?  Could it work?  How long could it last?

How much appetite do the world financial markets have for a flood of new Yen and Euros?

That a crisis in the US equity markets is imminent is getting ever broader recognition.  A stock market crash - which seems inevitable - could have serious consequences in and of itself.  But markets crash and markets recover, investors and regular people get hurt, some are ruined, some of us even die, but much as it stinks, the surviving investors come back into the game and the real economy recovers.

It was different in 1929 and 1931, when the collapsing stock market set off a cascade of other crises and a Great Depression.

It was different in 2007-9 also, and we're told it could have been much worse.  The real economy has never recovered.  It's like a corpse being kept alive on adrenaline, the people living in fear and denial, hoping and holding our breath.  It's a real depression.  But it's not yet full collapse.  Can we still recover from it?

None of the underlying causes of the 2007-9 crisis have been addressed, none have been fixed, and the only one which was partially relieved, the accumulation of un-repayable mortgage loans, has metastasized into new forms that are again swelling.

Some of the bubbles being reported on sites like ZeroHedge:

-   the sub-prime auto loan bubble, massive-scale lending to insolvent borrowers - and securitization of the contracts!

-   the shale gas bubble, with nearly all drillers losing money and borrowing massively to replace rapidly depleting wells.

-   the commercial mortgage crisis, with malls and office parks and buildings across the country seeing huge vacancy rates and staring bankruptcy.

-   the securitized student loan bubble, with huge rates of non-performing securitized loans.

-   the new US housing bubble, prices being ratcheted up again.

 -  the securitized rent bubble, buyers of foreclosed properties renting them out, pushing rents ever higher but not maintaining them, and selling claims on future rent receipts.

-   the continuing decline in the incomes of working families, at a time when they should be recovering, continues to hollow out our capacity to support the real economy with our spending.

Plus, a classical recession in the US real economy (remember that? yup, it's still there somewhere) is looming, about to be triggered by overproduction and inventory buildup,

And the Mother of All Bubbles, the Federal Reserve Bank printing and pumping out dollars by the trillions, backed by - nothing except the knowledge that countries need them.  Which is only not producing massive price inflation because most of the dollars go into financial speculation.

Should we perhaps then call the massive accumulation of debt - public, private and corporate - the Father of All Bubbles?  Because it too has been swelling, to the point where it dwarfs the global domestic product and is now utterly unrepayable.

Global debt, which has resumed its rapid rise since the crisis of 2007-9, is approaching a fateful moment  - the Minsky Moment it is being called - where new borrowing, new lending, which has been the main force over the past 30 years resisting collapse, no longer provides any stimulus to the real economy, where new lending in effect only goes to pay interest on the existing debt burden, with nothing left over for real investment or consumption! 

We could compare this to the moment when a dying giant star goes into its final collapse.  The star, having exhausted its hydrogen fuel, then its helium, lithium and other fusion products, starts to fuse heavier elements like iron and nickel, reactions that not only don't release enough energy to resist the collapse, but actually absorb energy.  At that point the star starts to collapse catastrophically and then detonates - blowing itself apart!

Worse yet, this is perhaps a Double Minsky Moment.  The underlying driver of classical depressions, first identified by Karl Marx over 150 years ago, is that investment in the real economy, largely focused on reducing labor costs, undercuts the ability of the working people to buy back what they have made. The cycle restarts after bankruptcies and acquisitions clear away overcapacity and new investments stimulate consumer demand.  It is arguably now the case that, with the introduction of offshoring production and robots, investment in production has become so efficient at replacing labor that it can't produce even a temporary boost in the income of working class families!

Could the economic system somehow survive a stock market collapse anyway, stabilizing through massive government interventions and all the central banks issuing massive streams of new money?

Or could perhaps a new global currency save the day?

One resource that has not been exploited but has been widely discussed would be the injection of liquidity into the world markets by the International Monetary Fund issuing trillions of dollars worth of SDR's, or Special Drawing Rights, in effect a new global currency.  If begun before the global financial  panic gets out of hand, it could perhaps buy some time.  But
 *   this could not relieve any of the pressure from swelling financial bubbles - it would just fuel them.
 *   this could not deleverage the global economic system - the massive pile of debt would continue swelling.
 *   this could not revive the effectiveness of Keynesian financial stimulus - it would, as with the Fed's "quantitative easing" just pour money into the banks and bond markets to keep them from collapsing without providing any stimulus to the real economy.
 *   I see no way it could usher in a new era of global stability, or even the era of debt bondage many fear.  A capitalist economy must either grow or die.

It could perhaps buy a few more years at best before financial Armageddon.

On the other hand, external shocks and internal instabilities could easily overwhelm this new defense before it is even in place.

* a stock market collapse proceeding too fast for the new currency to be set up and put into circulation,
* the disruption due to Russian sanctions is accelerating the already serious rate of contraction of most of Europe's national economies,
* a now well-documented campaign to suppress the price of gold and protect the price of the dollar must inevitably collapse as the supply available to the Western central banks runs out.
* an epic collapse of the China housing bubble and banking system is well underway.
* a possible mass defection of EM countries from the dollar to the BRICS Bank could shake the IMF.

the looming collapse of
* and finally there is a huge instability baked into the financial system by the phenomenal growth of derivatives, which globally have reached a face value of $750 trillion, ten times the value of the global domestic product!  Theoretically this is a zero-sum game, until some major player can't cover their bets, at which point it could - and probably will - unravel and bring the world banking system down.

Plus, as growing numbers of investors and governments come to understand the dimensions of the gathering crisis, the possibility of a global panic and rush for the exits grows.  But there will be no exit.

My call: be ready for the storm of the millennium.  Soon.  Very soon.  Never mind the survival biscuits;  Organize!  Organize your communities for survival, to defend our homes, assure at least the distribution of information, food, heating fuel and essential medicines, and to demand our governments break out of the box!

There is no shortage of people willing to act together to do the work of the world, or of the resources to do it.  There isn't even a shortage of money - although it looks that way from here on the street.

What there is, is a shortage of power.

If they can't put us to work, with our survival at stake, we must take on the task ourselves!

Sunday, May 25, 2014

Why we need a Champion for President in 2016. Warren? Saunders?

A response to "Let's Stop Searching for a "Messiah" and Build a Movement"
Sunday, 25 May 2014 09:30By Dave JohnsonCampaign for America's Future

Yes we need movement building, but we need something more.  We need a catalyst, for a profound paradigm shift that has been gestating in the minds and hearts of the American people for years now, a terrible resolve that's been forming and deepening, a quiet transformation taking place below the surface, nearly ready to burst forth.

We've had 14 years now, since our choice of President was stolen from us by the grandson of the founder of the CIA, son of the Station Chief in Dallas on Nov. 22 1963, with the acquiescence of the candidate many of us had rallied around and the collusion of the Supreme Court.  12 years since the largest worldwide protest event in history was blandly ignored and the war on Iraq launched based on shameless transparent lies.  Ten years since his Democratic challenger, imitation Irishman, fellow Oligarch and fellow Bonesman John Kerry rolled over and conceded another election.  We've seen the environmental justice and food justice movements swell to global proportions, only to be branded and persecuted as terrorists.  We've seen a growing groundswell of demand for fair wages and workplace justice even as our remaining unions are driven into the ground.

We've seen a phony banker-financed movement of renewal led by a CIA Protegee posing as the Second Coming of Jesus give hope and change a bad name.  We've watched in horror as he guts our constitution, launches campaigns of murder around the world and compromises away our most basic economic demands with only a token resistance.  We've struggled without success to turn back the open handover of our Federal government to the super-rich, establishing the principles that money is free speech but speech is not free.

Everywhere people are coming to the conclusion that we are headed for catastrophe, that  issue movements, electoral movements, campaigns to petition our government or pass laws are not enough, that the forces we are up against are too great.  That there is not time to win the reforms that are needed to turn back the unfolding disaster before events overtake them.  Everyone is so busy defending on their own fronts - or just surviving - to find the energy to support each others' struggles.

We've had four years now to digest the lessons of Occupy.  Not just the hundreds of thousands who participated but the tens of millions who were watching, hoping, thinking about joining in.  Everywhere the dawn is rising on an understanding that it's all one enemy, one great obstacle opposing and blocking us on every front and dragging us down together.  Occupy had some deep weaknesses, but it was the movement we were ready for and it helped catalyze these realizations.

People everywhere - activists, former activists and just plain folk - are quietly drawing deep conclusions. Tens of millions have concluded that "what we really need is a revolution."  They mostly don't know what that means - the revolutions taught us in school, especially our own, don't look much like what actually happened - but mostly what stops them is the persistent illusion that we're alone, that "all those other stupid lazy people out there" don't understand or care.  It's an illusion being carefully cultivated and protected by the corporate media.  It's their final line of defense.  When some event strips away that illusion, as the Obama Campaign and Occupy started to, when the millions find our voices together and discover each other, it will be an Emperor's New Clothes moment.

A Presidential Race can be a moment for all the movements and demands to come together, for all the streams of our people to converge.  Could a bid by Elizabeth Warren or Bernie Sanders provide us with this moment?

Every time I hear Elizabeth Warren or speak with her I am impressed by her sincerity, her passion, her deep anger at the banksters and oligarchs - and her readiness to call on us to organize and take the lead from the politicians.  Her campaign could be the catalyst, the spark that brings all our movements together into one great movement, that gives us our voice, and  through which we can share and build a vision of a renewed life beyond the horizons of our collapsing financial system.  My deep fear is that a presidential bid by Elizabeth Warren could be used as a final attempt to steer us into another dead end, to circle the herd and corral us again - but I am thinking she won't and couldn't stop the forces her campaign would unleash.

Or Bernie Saunders' campaign could be the catalyst.

Or the spark could be some outrageous act to stop them or steal our victory again.

Or events could overtake us before election season is in full swing, and the catalyst could be a new spontaneous Occupy-like movement triggered by some outrageous shock or affront, like that triggered by the Bank Bailouts in 2009.

A presidential win for either Warren or Saunders would require a mass mobilization to blast our way into the Democratic Party process, to check their efforts to block our candidate from the media and debates, to block our voters from the polls and steal their votes.  It could end with millions marching on Washington demanding the validation of the outcome when they steal it.  It's climactic moment could be when our brothers and sisters in the police and military refuse their orders to fire on us.

It would not be something that could be contained by a Party Machine.  And it would not be something that could be stopped on Inauguration Day.  Obama pulled that off once, and many have reflected on it deeply since then.  It won't work a second time.

Inauguration Day could be the day of Jubilee, the opening of a new stage in the battle between a newly energized and awakened people and the forces that are oppressing us.  The organizing would just be getting started, and would roll on until every workplace, every neighborhood and every block of every city, town and village, every school, and every military and police barracks is organized around the demand for democracy and the tasks of making it work.

It could happen with amazing rapidity, because it's been so long delayed.

Like the American Revolution - the one you probably don't know about because they deleted it from our histories.  It was hardly dreamed of in the Spring of 1774, but by mid-Summer the whole of Massachusetts at least was in ferment and organizing and by October we had swept British rule from most of New England and replaced it with direct popular rule - without bloodshed. Descriptions of that process look remarkably like Occupy and much less like the revolution of the Tea Party Patriots.  (See

We must not be afraid to throw ourselves into this battle, whatever form it takes, whether it is mass protests in the streets or a people's presidential campaign.  Whatever the form, when the millions take up the cause it will be the battle for democracy, for our lives, for the survival of our children and their children's children, with everything on the line.

There will be no excuse for sitting it out.

Sunday, May 11, 2014

Self-righteous judgmentalism of the oppressor nations

re: Putin's Latest Target: Free Speech on the Internet
By Steve Williams, Care2Sunday, 11 May 2014 12:01
Truthout editors and readers need to recognize that Russia - and through it our whole civilization - is faced with an existential threat eminating from the US-based Empire. The media coverage - and non-coverage - of the unfolding horror in Ukraine is atrocious, comparable to the worst of the Cold War era.
That Russia harbors Edward Snowden while restricting the internet is only a contradiction if taken out of context. Russia is the intended victim of a well-prepared assault, with the neo-Nazi anti-Russian putschist government put in place by the US in Ukraine the driving wedge. Like Ukraine, Russia is riddled with CIA, MI6, Mossad and German operatives, many of them placed or recruited through pseudo-liberal NGO's. That the Russian government is corrupt can make this harder to see, but it is still the intended victim, targeted for refusing to submit and being cynically and extravagantly painted as the villains by our corporate and "public" media.
This is a moment when the Truthout community needs to choose between standing against the Empire or effectively siding with it the way the Cold War Liberals did from 1945 to 1990. This is perhaps a more dangerous moment than the Cuban Missile Crisis, because our Empire is entering its death throes, its leaders are losing their grip on reality, and are threatening taking the world down with them. We who are in the "Belly of the Beast" have a special responsibility we cannot escape. To understand yet fail to act to block it, to hide behind ahistorical moralistic positions while ignoring the radically asymmetry of the US-Russian confrontation, is cowardice. A site that fails to convey this overarching reality and panders to the self-righteous judgmentalism of the oppressor nations does not fully deserve to call itself "alternative".
I would suggest going to for news about Ukraine, and for analysis. Not perfect, but good, solid. If reading these leaves you feeling like you're entering an alternative reality, consider that you may instead be leaving one.
[Reply to comment:]

Mulga, Thanks for the acknowledgment. However I do blame TruthOut. Getting news of what is actually happening in the world to the American people - and in particular to the American left - is critically important, a matter of life and death actually, and that's a responsibility that this site [TruthOut] pretends to have taken on.
The American public and our bought and paid for Congress, following the lead of the British people and Parliament, amazed the world by stopping a war last October. That was only possible because too much news had leaked out about what was actually going on. No doubt it helped that American soldiers were publicly declaring they would not go to war to defend Al Qaida.
If the news gets widely distributed that the US Government is backing actual flaming Nazis in Ukraine, who shot their way into power Nazi-style and are doing actual murderous Nazi stuff, consolidating their rule with bullying, murder, and intimidation, lies and deception, backed by US-paid mercenaries and apparently under the personal direction of the chief of the CIA, this whole adventure could perhaps be stopped.
But if progressive activists who have come to trust TruthOut to give us "the rest of the news," and at this critical juncture instead get fed this kind of slimy drivel, they have potentially been neutralized.
[Reply to comment:]

Cossack, How's this for a bit of reality? Here's some ground eye views from East Ukraine a few days ago:
Did you see anything like this on CNN or ABC? If they had shown these images, how could they have fit them into their narrative? 
How in particular could they frame this as Russian expansionism?
Could you?

Thursday, March 27, 2014

Watching China slide toward the brink

The unravelling of the Chinese financial knot is going to have some bizarre twists and turns. (See 

China's Credit Pipeline Slams Shut: Companies Scramble For The Last Drops Of Liquidity,

Wikipedia reports the Communist Party of China as having 86 million people.  Wikipedia in recent years has become a field of struggle over information and truth, but let's take this as correct.  Now we learn that 2.1 million families own most of the land in China, and these families no doubt are leaders in a mass-based party which consolidated its power roughly between 1935 and 1960 by organizing the peasants to overthrow the old landlord class in the countryside (See Fanshen, by William Hinton, for a powerful and moving close-up look at this process.)  I've seen no direct evidence, but this party surely must have a lot of members who are outraged at the corruption, and at odds with the leadership over letting their power slip away into the hands of the new landlord class.  
We know millions of Chinese, not just the super rich but the medium rich as well, and no doubt among them many of these 2.1 million landlord families, are smuggling their wealth out of China, and we can deduce that they're of doubtful loyalty to their country.  Are they sending a signal of what they think is coming for them?  (I kind of hope so!)
Wikipedia lists 167 million Chinese migrant workers.  The new industrial working class draws heavily from them.  From stories in the media - for example the NYT stories on the Foxconn workers - it's hard to imagine that the CPC has any base at all among this oppressed and angry population.  
And then there have been frequent reports of local strikes and demonstrations, with estimates that these occur thousands of times a year throughout China.  Does the rank and file in the CPC sometimes participate in them?  Is there a basis anywhere for a restoration of its original role as a party of the people?
The CIA's specialty in recent years, the Color Revolution, involves penetrating a society, planting agents and client organizations (NGO's) throughout its society, and then at an opportune moment using them to detonate the society's internal contradictions and sieze power in a controlled popular uprising - to the great detriment of the masses they enroll.  Is China open enough for them to have laid this groundwork?  
China seems ripe for such an event, and the collapse of the financial system would certainly be the moment for the CIA to strike.  The Chinese people and leaders have had 25 years of watching CIA-organized or hijacked revolutions in other countries.  Their leaders' reluctance to come to Putin's defense around Ukraine perhaps suggests they may not have absorbed this lesson - or are too corrupt or frightened to care.  And what lessons have the Chinese people learned from years of reflecting on the lessons of Tieneman Square?  
The investors who comment in ZeroHedge seem to be trying to dope out how China's financial system will collapse, who the winners and losers will be, how far it will spread and how to profit from it, as though this is just an extraordinarily large "normal" financial meltdown and collapse.  Not surprising; that's what investors do.  
But they should know the situation of China is anything but normal.  With the whole world financial system going unstable, with Russia being virtually forced to bring down the petrodollar to survive, with the Empire making its moves on Russia and perhaps instigating wars and new color revolutions all along its borders, with the Empire militarily provoking China and organizing unrest in its minority regions, with China politically starting to go critically unstable due to it's internal conflicts over land, wages, corruption and pollution, the unfolding crisis in Chaina is certainly not normal.  Not even high normal.  Predictable for a little bit yet, but easily able to go chaotic.
Add to this another huge unknown: could the leadership of the Chinese government and Party propose and impose radical solutions as the system fails and collapses?  Could they take the opportunity offered by Putin's Russia to break with the Petrodollar, rein in their kleptocrats, sweep away the bubbles and bankrupt enterprises and restart the economy on a new basis? 
Or is China's leadership so bound up with the kleptocrats that it can only ride the collapse down into the abyss, until an uprising from below overthrows them?  And what kind of revolution would that be?  There are competing alternative revolutions waiting to happen. Will they merge into one big one?  Can they dodge the color revolution the US doubtlessly has planned for them?
And what role could the 86 million members of the Communist Party play?   Can China collapse back into its old communist core, or is that door closed behind them forever?  This may hinge on how much of China's old command economy, which was organically linked to that huge mass-based party, still survives. With their new and extravagant and utterly reckless capitalist system collapsing and people getting frightened and desperate, will this or a new government be able to revive the command economy through the efforts of that communist party?  
If a restoration of real Communist Party power proves impossible, because the transition to capitalism is too far gone, because the leadership is too discredited or because its member have no will to try, what story will they tell each other about it?  Will there be a great mass revulsion at the outcome of their experiment with capitalism?  Will they blame their Communist Party for the collapse of their new capitalism, turn on it and destroy it in the hope that this will cause their new system to revive?
Or could history's answer to that question be something close to a 50-50 split between pro-capitalist  and pro-CPC, pro-statist forces, with regional advantages allowing each side to consolidate a power base - in a context of mass desperation, anger and recrimination in a nuclear-armed country? 
We could talk about who we're rooting for, but here in the US all we can really do is try to keep our government and military from getting any more deeply entangled in it.
My but we live in interesting times!

Saturday, February 1, 2014

Would I go back to the '70's?

My answer to "28 Points Of Comparison Between 1970s America And America Today – Which Do You Think Is Better?" by Michael Snyder,

The US of the '60's Rocked because the US Ruled. The US Ruled by the amazing productivity, health, vitality, education, ingenuity and self-confidence of our people, the amazing power of our Hollywood and Television fantasy machine, the credibility and moral authority of the nation that won World War II (in our own minds anyway,) our fabulous natural wealth, and by the ruthlessness and sheer raw terror of our armed forces.

Much of this was already starting to fray. Watergate and Vietnam had shaken us, a great reality check. But it was in the '70's that it really started to come apart.

Our health and vitality are seriously declining. The food is tainted, the medical system a fractured overpriced subsidiary of the pharmaceutical companies. Drug reactions, hospital infections and mistakes have become leading causes of death. Obesity, chronic environmental and hereditary diseases and disabilities are exploding. We're something like 40th in the world in infant mortality, 30th in maternal death rate, life expectancy is declining, and the government is lying to us about that.

Those of us with jobs are still fabulously productive but it has been turned against us, exported and used against us, and we no longer share in its fruits. Our living standard has been sinking slowly, along with the quality of the goods we consume.  That decline is accelerating now.  Our education system, once the envy of the world, is decaying into an over-priced pit of self-inflicted mediocrity, a great fear-driven job-training and debt-creation machine. Our once-fabled ingenuity, a land of back-yard tinkerers and garage entrepreneurs, has been largely lost as we've become a nation of sedentary game-players glued to our electronics devices, profoundly ignorant of how our machines and toys actually work.

Our natural wealth has been and is being squandered. Vast stretches of land are being ripped up and poisoned by fracking and strip mining. Our farm land is being destroyed by ever-increasing applications of pesticides and herbicides, the once rich living soil now a lifeless powder being washed away by acidic rain into acidifying oceans with growing dead zones no longer able to support life. Scores of aging, under-maintained nuclear plants like ticking time bombs dot the land, each a potential Fukushima. Our atmosphere, our greatest natural resource, is being poisoned.

As for terror, the US still rules by terror, whole lands live in constant fear of mercenary death squads and armed drones flying overhead, piloted by pimple-faced computer-gamers in Nevada, but now terrorizing US seems to be a growing part of its mission.

We watch helpless as the governments we elect to deal with all this ignore their mandates, Our once great democracy feels like, and is, a hollow shell, for sale to the highest bidder.  The crowds that chanted USA NUMBER ONE still chant, but it no longer the exuberant boast of a self-confident people. It almost feels like a protest now.

On a more hopeful side, the great media fantasy machine spins on but its credibility is gone. Government statistics about unemployment, growth and prices have become transparent lies.   Failed wars based on lies and coverups stand exposed. The great Security State blackmail machine stands naked.  Honest news and information still diffuses over the Internet and it's reach spreads. The contrast between our reality and the one reflected back to us by the media has gone critical. All that remains is the media-generated illusion of "all those other stupid people" who believe it.

The inflation of the '70's was a big deal. By 1973 the economy, in terms of its natural cycles of the past 200 years, was primed and ready for the next Depression. It never happened - or rather we're only getting to it now. Instead, the money supply was decoupled from any underlying real value and step by step the doors were opened to a new "bubble economy".  The financialized, monetized, privatized, leveraged-to-the-max economy that resulted is finally imploding, sucking what's left of the real economy into a black hole. 

So would I go back to the '70's? Some of us pretty much saw this all coming back then.  We had our wins, wins that mattered, but overall we were helpless to stem the tide.  Why would I want to go through that again?  Right now is sufficient unto the moment, and what comes next will be a little different because we're still here fighting.  

And at least it won't be more of the same.

Friday, January 31, 2014

Greece and the EU: why do they accept>

The curtain has been pulled back and the Greek people are confronted with the naked reality of no democracy, outcomes that cry out against fairness, logic and reason, and a spineless gaggle of "socialist" and "social democratic" politicians unable or unwilling to lead them in a fight for their very survival.  The question has to be asked: "why not?"  It is not sufficient to just dismiss those leaders as bad or worthless people.  They must have their reasons.  We all have our reasons.
I keep remembering how the Greek Prime Minister Papandreou proposed to put a bailout package to the voters, but withdrew that several days later reporting that he had been personally told "I'll kill you!" by President Sarkozy of France.  I wonder, was his capitulation simply personal cowardice? Complicity? Or bowing to Greece's reality as an enslaved nation? What would have happened had he defied Sarkozy and pushed ahead with the vote? A simple murder would not have been enough for the EU to set that right, but who else was implicitly threatened?
Then there's the Army. Greece's army is descended from the puppet forces that collaborated with Hitler and took control during the Civil War of 1946-49, with heavy British and American support.  The generals took back full power in a bloody coup in 1969, as told in the movie Z, to tame a population that was getting out of control.  It relinqueshed power under pressure in 1974 but was not defeated or purged.  
The key to understanding the collapse of Greek democracy in the face of the EU bankers may lie in the answer to the question: Whose army is it?
The denouement may perhaps lie in the hands of the junior officers and the sergeants, whose loyalties and state of mind we can only imagine.

To a fighter for safe healthy food

At times we all can feel hopeless and powerless in the face of the size, power, ruthlessness and pure evil of the corporations, of how hard it is to win little victories, how fast new threats emerge, and the illusion of a blind and apathetic public reflected back to us by the corporate media.  

People who care about and struggle over other issues are having the same experience.  Some despair, give up or grow numb out of exhaustion. 

Environmental justice, anti "tracking", global warming, workplace health and safety, nuclear power, animal rights, little victories are won.  Bank and mortgage fraud, globalization and secret trade deals, drives to privatize everything from schools to water supplies and prisons, banks financing criminal cartels and massively rigging interest rates and every market with impunity, all have come to light because they are someone's battle. But to really win/ each needs to be everyone's battle, which seems impossible.

Voting rights and voter suppression, Citizen's United and corporate personhood, big money control over every institution of government, fraudulent government statistics and media lies and censorship, the fight for the open Internet, massive government spying, a phony war on terror, militarization of local police, torture and rendition, each of these issues has come to light because thousands are engaged in them.  Victories are won, yet new outrages keep popping up while public attention flitters on to the next thing.  

Ending the wars, closing the bases, caring for the veterans, bringing the troops home, stopping the torture, rendition and executions by drone;  job creation, infrastructure, homelessness, hunger, workplace justice, the right to organize, parents' rights, welfare rights, ex-prisoners rights; each is critical to the thouands who are fighting them.  

An epidemic of discrimination is totally out of control, whole new classes of people are no longer considered for jobs,  Millions, gripped by fear of being destroyed by some employer-alert list, swallow their bile and try to "keep their noses clean." 

This same fractal-like pattern appears on almost any smaller scale - battles over the privatization of parking meters, the breakdown of a state Food Stamp system, the stealth passage of some outrageous state law overturning a just court ruling, or countless personal injustices  - new battles just keep popping up.  We feel isolated in the face of armies of cynical "suits", too overwhelmed to support each other's fights.

Meanwhile flocks of corporate-funded politicians, pundits and shock-jocks orchestrate campaigns of division, hate and self-blame, drawing on all our fears, myths and confusion, setting up and promoting phony protest movements and false leaders, Judas goats and Pied Pipers, playing on our shame,  twisting our anger back against each other and against ourselves, scapegoating, channeling and fanning our outrage, stirring up false hope and wasting our energy on dead ends.  

Consider the Million Veteran March on Washington.  Maybe two hundred Tea-Party veterans plus Sarah and Michelle got wall-to-wall press coverage for defying the barricades at the War Memorial, while the leaders of 30 national veterans groups and thousands of veterans who converged on Washington the following week to protest the very real cuts in benefits got virtually none.  

The fight for safe, wholesome food is deeply connected to all these other battles. One people fighting for our homes, our families, our very lives in thousands of battles on hundreds of fronts confronting one hydra-headed shape-shifting foe and its doctrine of unrestrained greed.  1000 streams flowing toward one ocean.  

The story of our food has rippled outward.  The seemingly-docile satisfied masses shuffling their full baskets through the checkout line know far more than you think.  Exhausted, barraged with conflicting information and misinformation, living paycheck to paycheck, yet all know something's very wrong.   Obesity, deformities, chronic illness, disability and early death surround us.  All have horror stories of bad medical care.  And all suspect the food.

Our stories - of all our struggles and what we've learned in them - are permeating outward.  Few know all the pieces but everyone knows some.  Some incident will draw us together in outrage, the way the Crash and Bank Bailout did.  Some turn of events will sweep aside all the distractions and focuses our minds on the common source of our afflictions.

In that moment, we will shed the last illusion: that the problem is "all those other stupid people" out there, sitting on their couches stuffing their faces with Devil Dogs, consuming and believing all the happy lies.  

Occupy was starting to draw us all together into one great invincible force, but it wasn't quite there yet.

Or rather, it was we, the American people, who weren't quite there yet.

We've learned a lot since then, and there will be a next time.  


Friday, January 24, 2014

Who are all those wealthy Chinese buying US homes with cash?

From Hugh-Smith's article we could conclude that those Chinese nationals buying foreclosed properties in our cities with cash are neither agents of the Chinese government nor China's new billionaire class scheming to gain power or control over the US.  Rather they are simply criminals laundering their loot and preparing their getaway.


Two Powder Kegs Ready to Blow: China & India

Submitted by Charles Hugh-Smith of OfTwoMinds blog,
China and India are both powder kegs awaiting a spark for the same reason: systemic corruption.
China's "princelings" (offspring and family of the inner political circle and top apparatchiks of the Communist Party) are billionaires, not mere millionaires. A recent expose of offshore accounts held by various Chinese billionaires estimated the wealth skimmed and transferred our of China at between $1 trillion and $4 trillion: China's Epic Offshore Wealth Revealed: How Chinese Oligarchs Quietly Parked Up To $4 Trillion In The Caribbean.
Even the top number is a gross underestimate, as $4 trillion only accounts for the skim of the top layer
... even the lowly functionary skimmer can get huge sums out of China: take a "vacation" to Macau. Buy $1 million in casino chips with your looted yuan. Lose $50,000 at the tables and then go cash in your remaining chips in U.S. dollars. Deposit the dollars in a Hong Kong or other Asian bank and then transfer the cash to L.A. or Vancouver to buy a house for cash. Repeat as necessary.
It has taken an enormous credit bubble of $23 trillion (The $23 Trillion Credit Bubble In China Is Starting To Collapse – What Next?) plus the monumental credit expansion of the shadow banking system in China to enable the skimming of $6 trillion by the political/financial Plutocracy….
CH: Hugh-Smith ends with some words of wisdom that would apply at home:
The spark that ignites the powder keg cannot be predicted or suppressed. Don't look to the disenfranchised peasantry as the source, though they are ready enough to cast off the Powers That Be; look to those who believed the gilded promises issued by the looters and discovered that the fruits of their labor and their hopes is disillusionment on a scale as vast as the skim looted from their nation by their self-serving leadership.