All posts filed under: Essays

What if…

Eddison Flame What if humans weren’t meant to live such disconnected lives? What if humans were actually meant to live in vibrant flourishing and caring communities? What if humans were meant to take care of each other and love one another? What if humans were meant to take care of the planet? What if humans were actually meant to cultivate gardens all over the earth, so that everywhere there was always enough for everyone? What if humans weren’t meant to spend all their time slaving away at tedious jobs they hate? What if instead they were meant to love their lives and their occupations? What if the world was meant to be a place full of peace and love and happiness, where people were always content? What if all the evils perpetrated in the world were actually done on purpose? What if, long long ago, some people learned they could gain control over others? What if people learned that by controlling others, they could become rich? What if people learned that they could force others …

Russian Stalemate

Frank Lee The brewing conflict between the Russian Oligarchy and the Russian people is reaching a crisis point. The side that prevails will determine the future of Russia and perhaps the world. On 17 March 1991 a referendum was held in the Soviet Union on whether or not the USSR should continue to exist. There was an 80% turnout (some 185,647,355.00 of registered voters). The upshot of this election was that 113,512,812.00 voted to preserve the USSR. That’s 71.92%. Their wishes were disregarded, however. The entrenched bureaucracies and business interests, collectively the nomenklatura, decided that this was too good an opportunity to pass up; there was money to be made in this once in a lifetime situation. Which sounds eerily rather like EU referenda practise. The sunny interlude of Gorbachov was to give way to the beginning of the Yeltsin catastrophe – a catastrophe not equalled since WW2. The emergence of the cosmopolitan business oligarchy and its political hangers-on was to consolidate its power and create a new kind of political, economic and social structure. …

Anti-Semitism Pandemic!

CJ Hopkins Get the kids into the house! Lock your doors! Board up the windows! Break out the gas masks and hazmat suits! According to the corporate media, we are now officially deep in the throes of a deadly anti-Semitism pandemic! And just as the threat of mind-controlling Russian influencers was finally waning! It seems the fabric of Western democracy just can’t catch a break these days. The origins of this pernicious, panic-inducing pestilence remain shrouded in mystery, but epidemiologists now believe that it began in the Spring of 2015, shortly after the resignation of Ed Milliband as UK Labour Party leader, and went global in the Summer of 2016, right around the time of the Brexit referendum and the nomination of Donald Trump. (Although the circumstantial evidence is overwhelming, to date, there exists no conclusive proof that Russian bio-weapons designers cooked up the virus in a hotel in Salisbury and sprayed it onto anyone’s doorknob.) Virologists are working around the clock to map the genome of this scurrilous scourge, about which very little is …

The Fascinating Spell Cast by Weasels

Edward Curtin Ah, mon cher, for anyone who is alone, without God and without a master, the weight of days is dreadful. Hence one must choose a master, God being out of style.” Albert Camus, The Fall To be fascinated by another person who holds or symbolizes power is very common. It is often accompanied by a frisson of sexual excitement, whether repressed or acknowledged, explicitly or implicitly projected. Masters need slaves and slaves need their masters. The chief, the big man, the fascinating woman, the glamorous celebrity, the rich mogul, the powerful politician, while all standard vintage people without their accoutrements of prestigious (magical) power, magnetically attract many people wishing to surrender passively to the perceived superior power of what Carl Jung called the “mana-personality.” However, such supernatural power or aura is in the eyes of the beholder, who wishes to be hypnotized and to fulfill his secret wish to be will-less. As Dostoevsky has written, “Man is tormented by no greater anxiety than to find someone quickly to whom he can hand over …

The Silence that Absolves

Philip Farruggio A few years after the illegal and immoral invasion and occupation of Iraq, my 84 year old pal John and I would stand each Tuesday outside the local library with our protest signs. We had been out there, one hour each week, for over a year; and before that for six years on a busy street corner during rush hour. One day, this German lady approached us. She thanked us for taking the time out and added “You know, Americans don’t like to get out and protest. If this was Germany, and our government did what yours did, we’d have thousands outside this library, not just two people.” How correct she was. The Germans, the French and all the European peoples remember, or are taught, what it was like to be occupied and threatened by the Nazi police state. We Americans are lucky that our nation has never been occupied by a foreign power. Never! Thus, you would think that it might have been more difficult for us Americans to accept the propaganda …

A Religious Wake-up Call

Kevin Smith and Lesley Buckley What good is it for someone to gain the whole world, yet forfeit their soul?” Gospel of Mark, 8:36 I’ve been looking at religion for some time now, thinking if there are areas where perhaps it can be more involved as a voice against regime change, extremist ideology and continuous war. My thoughts on the concept of religion and its basic teaching are positive. Despite what some people say, I think peace and compassion is a strong theme in the writings of the Bible and Koran. But, I’m sure like me there are many of us who take issue with the behaviour of the religious hierarchy and some followers. Recently, I attended a course which explores the basics of Christianity and what underpins Christian beliefs. Among the thoughts I had is why Jesus has not paid us a return visit maybe to give us a further chance to change. With so many more people living on our planet and in such dangerous and immoral times, surely we are in need …

Four Little Words

It was Sir John Templeton, the American-born British investor, banker, fund manager, and philanthropist, who sardonically observed that in business and finance the expression ‘this time it’s different’ represented the four most expensive words in the business lexicon. Today’s market fundamentalists seem fixated with the quasi-religious belief that (a) bubbles can go on inflating forever, or (b) I will take my profit just when the market tops out. But how many times have the investing herd had their collective snouts rubbed into the reality that there is no such thing as a free lunch? Unless of course you are on the inside. Whenever a market is oversold and seems to offer something for nothing, market participants behave like wildebeest herds on the plains of the Serengeti stampeding in precisely the wrong direction to the refrain of – ‘this time it’s different.’

The Year of the Pig is here…literally

Andre Vltchek Gong Xi Fa Cai: happy year of the Pig 2019! Congratulations, the Year of the Pig has arrived! According to the Chinese astrology, 2019 is a great year to make money, and a good year to invest! 2019 is going to be full of joy, a year of friendship and love for all the zodiac signs; an auspicious year because the Pig attracts success in all the spheres of life.” So, what is astrology actually saying? We will soon have some sort of ‘brotherhood of men’ year ahead of us; a year that could bring both peace and understanding between all the zodiac signs? We all wish that it could be possible. But we all have doubts that this is what is actually ahead of us! * So, where does the world stand, as the most populous nation on earth – China (but also Vietnam and several other countries) – celebrates the New Year? To be honest, the world does not ‘stand’ at all – it lies in the gutter. It appears to …

A Taxing Question: Re-reading Piketty

Frank Lee reviews Capital in the 21st Century by Thomas Piketty This book by Thomas Piketty was first published in 2014 and became an instant best seller. It had taken the author some 15 years to research and complete, and deserves a detailed attention and analysis rather than the usual one-off, production-line tracts which are read and instantly forgotten. Piketty describes the end of an old epoch, the rise of the new – the golden age of welfare-capitalism, Le Trente Glorieuses, the Keynes/Beveridge consensus, call it what you will, circa 1945-1975 – and the re-emergence of a second rentier capitalism regime which began the early 1980s. Using apposite literary references to writers of the first gilded age he quotes: It is a truth universally acknowledged, that a single man in possession of a good fortune, must be in want of a wife.” Jane Austen – Pride and Prejudice An immortal sentence which says a thousand words. Such was the moral zeitgeist in Europe during the 19th century; Piketty then drives home the point by adding …

No More Bullshit: Jimmy Breslin and Pete Hamill

Edward Curtin Growing up Irish-Catholic in the Bronx in the 1960s, I was an avid reader of the powerful columns of Jimmy Breslin and Pete Hamill in the New York newspapers. These guys were extraordinary wordsmiths. They would grab you by the collar and drag you into the places and faces of those they wrote about. Passion infused their reports. They were never boring. They made you laugh and cry as they transported you into the lives of real people. You knew they had actually gone out into the streets of the city and talked to people. All kinds of people: poor, rich, black, white, Puerto Rican, high-rollers, low-lifes, politicians, athletes, mobsters – they ran the gamut. You could sense they loved their work, that it enlivened them as it enlivened you the reader. Their words sung and crackled and breathed across the page. They left you always wanting more, wondering sometimes how true it all was, so captivating was their storytelling abilities. They cut through abstractions to connect individuals to major events such as …

Lyndon LaRouche Is Dead, But We Are Alive

David Lindsay Lyndon LaRouche is dead. At least at one time, LaRouche believed that the Queen was a drug dealer, and that Henry Kissinger had been a Soviet agent of influence. As with Harold Wilson, against whom that allegation was also made, the Soviets ought to have demanded their money back. But no one is in a position to ridicule that if they have ever believed the official version of events in relation to Orgreave, Westland, or Hillsborough. Or any of all manner of claims that have been made by, or in support of, the Clintons. Or in the murder of 100,000 military age males in Kosovo. Or in the existence of weapons of mass destruction in Iraq, and in their capacity for deployment within 45 minutes. Or in Saddam Hussein’s feeding of people into a giant paper shredder, and in his attempt to obtain uranium from Niger. Or in an imminent genocide in Benghazi, in Gaddafi’s feeding of Viagra to his soldiers in order to encourage mass rape, and in his intention to flee …

The Peaceful Revolution

Eddison Flame How can we fight back against people who control a vast military, financial, information, and surveillance machine? Fiona Jenkins, via Off-Guardian The problem is even worse than you suggest. Not only do they control a vast military, the whole financial apparatus, a massive and invasive system for information indoctrination and narrative control, and a sprawling inescapable system of surveillance, but, in addition to all this, we the people are entirely dependent on their system for our very survival. As it stands right now, there is no safe place in the world for anyone to escape this system. You are absolutely right to wonder, what can we do? I disagree however with your proposal that a potentially viable solution is the one expressed by Moti Nissani in his article The Al-Sabbah Brigade. Anyway, his solution is not my solution. I will say, however, that his formulation of the problem we are facing is excellent. His analysis of the situation we find ourselves in is very good, and I encourage anyone who doubts the claims …

The Real Left, Phony Left and What’s Left

Philip Farruggio Cutting to the chase, if you consider yourself to be ‘On the Left’ then you have to be a Socialist. Period! Now, there are many different levels under the banner of Socialism. Some may be Marxist, Trotskyite, Syndicalism etc. Yet, the unifying denominator is that all believe in the common ownership of the means of production and services. Many socialists do honor the existence of Mom and Pop private ownership of small business. Under a truly socialist system banking, energy, health & dental care, housing and all necessary services would be owned and operated by the community, whether it be local, state or federal. Imagine if you would if we had real community owned and run mortgage banks, where the only interest charges would be for overhead. Translated: Even in these so-called ‘low rates’ times, where a mortgage rate is around 4 or 5%, with non-profit community banks the rate would be perhaps 1%. Plus, the mortgage paper would remain with that bank. Today’s renters would be tomorrow’s owners of their own abode. …

Geopolitics of Europe and the Iron Law of Evolutionary Biology

Europe after the Brexit, NATO 70 summit and Turkish geopolitical vertigo Professor Anis H. Bajrektarević A freshly released IMF’s World Economic Outlook brings no comforting picture to anyone within the G-7, especially in the US and EU: The WTO Round is dead, trade wars are alive, GCC is rapidly Pakistanising while the Asia’s core and its Far East slows down. No comfort either comes from the newest Oxfam Report – Are 26 billionaires worth more than half the planet?, which the ongoing Davos Vanity Fair known as the WEF tries to ignore (as much as this gathering of capital sustains in ignoring labor). The Brexit after-shock is still to reverberate around. In one other EXIT, Sartre’s Garcin famously says: ‘Hell is other people’. Indeed, the business of othering remains lucrative: The NATO 70 summit will desperately look for enemies. Escalation, the best way to preserve eroded unity, requires the confrontational nostalgia dictatum. Will the passionately US-pushed cross-Atlantic Free Trade Area (substituting the abandoned TIPP and compensating for the Sino-US trade war) save the day? Or, …

The CIA Then and Now: Old Wine in New Bottles

The Nazis had a name for their propaganda and mind-control operations: weltanschauungskrieg – “world view warfare.” As good students, they had learned many tricks of the trade from their American teachers, including Sigmund Freud’s nephew, Edward Bernays, who had honed his propagandistic skills for the United States during World War I and had subsequently started the public relations industry in New York City, an industry whose raison d’ȇtre from the start was to serve the interests of the elites in manipulating the public mind.

Mister Charlie Told Me So

Say what you will about the current zeitgeist, at least it’s often entertaining … albeit in a psychotic Charlie Manson kind of way. Last week, for example, when Russian Hitler ordered Russian-intelligence-asset Hitler to support a coup against Venezuelan Hitler (i.e., Russian Hitler’s South American ally) to distract attention from Smirkboy Hitler and his acne-faced army of MAGA hat-wearing Catholic high-school Hitler Youth. That was entertaining … or something.

Neoliberalism and its Discontents

Frank Lee Pure economics is not a theory of real-world economics, of actually-existing capitalism, but of an imaginary capitalism.” Samir Amin, The Liberal Virus (2004) According to orthodox economic trade theory, free movement of labour, capital and commodities, will result in flows into the most optimal investment and growth areas. In doing so this process will be seen to maximise social welfare in terms of growth of income and output. At the level of theory this may seem disarmingly plausible; in practise, however, the theory begs a number of key questions and is not necessarily always the case. Like much orthodox economic theory, the free-trade paradigm is a one-size fits all prescriptive model; always and everywhere it is thought to be the policy of choice. Free-up the markets and they will deliver the goods. This is, to say the least, a questionable view. The quasi-religious belief in the efficacy of free trade and factor input movement is the cornerstone of trade agreements such as free-trade areas like NAFTA and trading blocs like the EU and …

Demands (to Save the World)

Eddison Flame Any good movement needs a list of demands, so I resolved to come up with one. Of course, for now anyway, these are just my demands, but I hope they will inspire others to either share them, reorder them, or come up with other demands of their own. Really, it would be ideal if we could have a public vote about these things. I don’t mean a local governmental vote, but a global public vote. We need to get on the same page globally so we can prioritize what needs to be done. Sure, it may be that we don’t all agree about all the same things, but maybe we all do agree on some things. If we could just determine exactly what these things are, then we could work on a plan to fix them. So, and this is really an aside from the main point of this article, what we need is a system with a few particular features. First, accounts should be verifiable (such that each account is verifiable as …

A Gentrified Little Town Goes to Pot

Edward Curtin In my little town/ I grew up believing/God keeps his eye on us all.” Simon and Garfunkel, My Little Town Hello my old friends Paul and Art, I’m just sitting here chilling out in the silent darkness of a late night spinning some discs and thinking your song is great but even great songs age as do we all and so I want to tell you that as a NYC born and bred boy like you guys who moved out to the country some years ago that in my little town many young people grew up not believing that God keeps his eye on us all because they grew up not believing in God, and even many of their parents, baby-boomer believers in hands-off parenting and meditation and yoga weekends didn’t keep an eye on them, not at all, since the parents thought of themselves as super cool and so the kids were allowed to fend for themselves in a most culturally liberal life-style way, and then, when the kids got confused and …

Tilting at the Mills in the Empire: Or, Fascism Real and Imaginary

Vladimir Golstein In the real world, fascists come to power when Western democracies imposed unbelievably harsh sanctions on Germany, and when the genuine German lefties were crushed by the unhealthy alliance of the liberals and right-wingers. In the real world, fascists come to power after they targeted a particular group of people as the object of vicious, culturally shaped demonizing, and then destroyed any opposition by accusing it of its connection with a demonized group. In the real world, fascists put those who challenge them into the camps, where they are brutally killed, along with all the demonized groups. In the real world, fascists use all the means at their disposal – propaganda in particular — to manipulate, brainwash, and turn its own population into irrational haters. In the real world, fascists and their armies are crushed by Russians, who die in their millions in order to put an end to the brutal fascist occupation of their country. But we are not talking about the real world in the 21st century. We are now inhabiting …