SteveG’s Posts

The New Socialism: Moving Beyond Concentrated State Power

Truthout has Richard Wolff’s article The New Socialism: Moving Beyond Concentrated State Power.

One emerging and promising new socialism for the 21st century focuses on worker co-ops.

I post this on this blog for future reference. This is not an endorsement of the idea. Instead, this is meant to be a record of an idea that should be included in discussions and debates about how our economic system should evolve to a better alternative to the “capitalist” system we have now.

Scahill & Greenwald: What If All Victims of War Received the Media Attention of Manchester Victims?

Democracy Now has the video Scahill & Greenwald: What If All Victims of War Received the Media Attention of Manchester Victims?

GLENN GREENWALD: Yeah, we all do media criticism of various types, and I know, over the years, I’ve voiced all kinds of critiques of U.S. media coverage. But if I had the power to just, overnight, remedy one of them, this discrepancy is the one that I would choose, because think about how powerful it is, just the effect that it has on us as human beings. Even just randomly when it pops into our Twitter timeline or onto our Facebook page, you see the name and the story and the grieving relatives of someone who was killed at this concert in Manchester. No matter how rational you are, you feel anger, you feel empathy, you feel so emotionally moved by the horror of the violence that was perpetrated.

So, imagine if there was any kind of balance whatsoever, where we knew the names of any of the victims of the indiscriminate violence of our own government, let alone the comprehensive coverage of the victims that is devoted when we are the victims of violence, how much that would affect the perception that we have of the violence that our own government perpetrates. We keep it so abstract. We usually just hear 14 people died. The Pentagon claims that it’s militants and terrorists. It’s left at that. At best, we hear they finally acknowledge four civilians are killed, but it’s kept very ethereal, very distant and abstract. We never learn their names, as you said. We never hear from their families. We never hear their life aspirations extinguished. And if there was just some attention paid to telling the stories of the victims of our own government’s violence, I think there would be a radical shift in how we perceive of ourselves, the role we play in the world and who bears blame in this conflict.

This is a point that I think needed to be made, but I felt intimidated in even raising it. I was sure it would be misunderstood by the majority of the people in the west. I think that Democracy Now, and Greenwald, and Scahill have made the point in the most reasonable way possible, but I know that most westerners will still not find it acceptable. The reaction that I expect will be a demonstration of the depths we have allowed ourselves to be dragged down to. Of course, real media professionals have been working for decades on dragging us down, so I guess there is some reason forgive the people taken in by this effort to promote war.

Saudi Arabia’s $20 Billion wager with Blackstone is record-sized bet on U.S. infrastructure

Robert Reich has commented on the MarketWatch article Saudi Arabia’s $20 Billion wager with Blackstone is record-sized bet on U.S. infrastructure.

Saudi Arabia just joined the parade of investors into U.S. public works by pledging a record $20 billion investment with Blackstone Group’s new infrastructure fund.

It’s the latest push around the world by large investors to buy up U.S. airports, roads, bridges, water systems, and other public projects.

Rather than taxing the wealthy and then using the money to fix our dangerously outdated infrastructure, the states and the federal government increasingly are giving rich investors tax credits to encourage them to do it.

The investors then charge tolls and user fees, and earn big profits.

I was wondering when we would find out why on earth a foreign country would want to invest in our infrastructure. I suspected we might be paying tolls to Saudi Arabia to use highways in our own country. What could possibly go wrong with that idea?

Notes From an Emergency: Tech Feudalism

Naked Capitalism has reprinted the article Notes From an Emergency: Tech Feudalism By Maciej Cegłowski, a painter and computer guy who lives in San Francisco.

It is always hard to find the best and tersest excerpt of an article to convey its value for why you should read the article. Here is my feeble attempt.

After Communism collapsed in Poland, I started visiting the country every eight months or so. Even in the darkest period of the 1990’s, it was striking to see people’s material standard of living improve. Suddenly people had cars, phones, appliances. These gains were uneven but broad. Even farmers and retirees, though they were the hardest hit, had access to consumer goods that weren’t available before. You could see the change in homes and in public spaces. It was no longer necessary for office workers in Kraków to change their shirts at lunchtime because of soot in the air. The tap water in Warsaw went from light brown to a pleasant pale yellow.

For all the looting, corruption, and inefficiency of privatization, enough of the new wealth got through that the overall standard of living went up. Living standards in Poland in 2010 had more than doubled from 1990.

In the same time period, in the United States, I’ve seen a whole lot of nothing. Despite fabulous technical progress, practically all of it pioneered in our country, there’s been a singular failure to connect our fabulous prosperity with the average person.

A study just out shows that for the median male worker in the United States, the highest lifetime wages came if you entered the workforce in 1967. That is astonishing. People born in 1942 had better lifetime earnings prospects than people entering the workforce today.

You can see this failure to connect with your own eyes even in a rich place like Silicon Valley. There are homeless encampments across the street from Facebook headquarters. California has a larger GDP than France, and at the same time has the highest poverty rate in America, adjusted for cost of living. Not only did the tech sector fail to build up the communities around it, but it’s left people worse off than before, by pricing them out of the places they grew up.

In rereading the above excerpt, I remember why it is that broad living standard improvement can occur in developing countries like Poland, India, and China, to name a few, but not in countries like the USA. When you start from a low enough base of economic development, it is possible for the oligarchs to reap obscenely huge rewards and still allow amazing improvements for vast numbers of ordinary citizens. In countries with large enough middle classes already in existence, there is too much wealth already in the hands of the middle class to allow the oligarchs ignore the need to plunder it. This does not bode well for the rest of the world if it fails to take up the challenge posed by Maciej Cegłowski.

Wilkerson on North Korea Crisis: U.S. Should Stop the Threats & Own Up to its Role

The Real News Network has the interview Wilkerson on North Korea Crisis: U.S. Should Stop the Threats & Own Up to its Role

So, if you want the bottom line, there isn’t anybody in the world today, after seeing us invade Iraq, after seeing us bomb Syria, after seeing us do –- we’re at war with seven or eight countries right now in terms of drones. We’re flying across their borders and killing people inside their territory.

So, if I were anyone in the world who thought my regime was in trouble, I’d think the trouble came from the United States, and I’d want a nuclear weapon too. That’s not at all to say I condone the proliferation of nuclear weapons. I’m simply stating the obvious. I’m stating the rational obvious.

I don’t have the teeniest tiniest amount of knowledge that Colonel Wilkerson has, but I have been able to figure this out years ago.

Free Movie Plot

I have been thinking of a plot for a movie. Since I am no screenwriter, I offer this idea free of encumbrance to anyone who has the skills to turn this into an actual movie.

It starts out with a high advisor to a President Drumpf telling him that if he keeps up his anti-war stances, that he won’t survive one more week. Rather than cower into submission, Drumpf decides to go public about the threat. In a daring attempt to prevent his own assassination, he tweets the threat and names the person who made it. He then decides to cloister himself in the White House, so they can’t do to him what they did to John F. Kennedy. He then realizes that his family members are still vulnerable. He tries talking to Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren who were silenced in the same way they have attempted to silence him.

The rest of the plot is going to have to be invented by whoever decides to pick up the challenge and turn it into a complete movie.

Trump’s Missile Attack on Syria Justified With Fake Intelligence, Experts Say

Alternet has the article Trump’s Missile Attack on Syria Justified With Fake Intelligence, Experts Say.

On April 7, President Trump committed his first “act of war,” attacking Syria with missiles on April 7 in response to what he said was a poison gas attack by the Syrian government that killed dozens. But the White House’s subsequent intelligence report offering its proof of Syria’s role was “false” and “fraudulent,” suggesting a “cover-up” of a president acting without any intelligence or intentionally lying to the public.

When is a U.S. President going to be held accountable for acts that violate our Constitution? If I recall, on inauguration day, it is traditional and customary for the President to take an oath that he will protect and defend the Constitution.

The Uncivil War with Max Blumenthal & Ben Norton

RT has the video The Uncivil War with Max Blumenthal & Ben Norton.

Chris Hedges is joined by Max Blumenthal, author and senior editor of Alternet’s Grayzone Project, and Ben Norton, reporter for Alternet. Following the US missile attacks on a Syrian airbase in response to an alleged chemical weapons attack, they discuss the US’ role in the Syrian conflict.

Some of you may have heard this before, but too many refuse to believe this. Many dismiss this because it comes from RT. Do you really expect this news to be broadcast by allies and co-conspirators of the U.S? If you only will listen to US government approved sources, are you really naive enough to believe that you will be getting all sides of the story?

Truth Bomb Dropped Live On BBC By British Ambassador Goes Viral

Your Newswire has the article Truth Bomb Dropped Live On BBC By British Ambassador Goes Viral.

“Trump has just given the jihadis a thousand reasons to stage fake flag operations, seeing how successful and easy it is, with a gullible media, to provoke and lead the West into intemperate reactions.

Since the first false flag operation in 2013, I have been saying exactly what the former Ambassador has been saying about the message we send to the jihadis. What I did not know at the time and did not know until recently is that Hillary Clinton’s State Department facilitated the transfer to the jihadis of the chemical weapons that we found in Libya. What did she expect them to do with these materials, and what message was she sending to them? Apparently, they have received the message loud and clear.

Why Should We Teach Critical Thinking? It Just Gets In The Way Of The Propaganda by Dr. Michael Flanagan

Bad Ass Teachers blog has the article Why Should We Teach Critical Thinking? It Just Gets In The Way Of The Propaganda by Dr. Michael Flanagan. Sounded like a great tirade, but one think caught my eye.

Or referring to the bombing of Pearl Harbor as a “sneak attack” even though the Japanese had notified FDR and declared that there was a state of war between the U.S. and Japan.

Oh, my goodness, was the movie Tora! Tora! Tora! completely wrong that the Japanese didn’t warn our government until after the attack had already started?

Following the precepts of my <sarcasm>beloved</sarcasm> President Ronald Reagan, “trust, but verify”, I decided to check out the reference that showed that “the Japanese had notified FDR and declared that there was a state of war between the U.S. and Japan.”

The reference pointed to the Telegraph article Pearl Harbour memo shows US warned of Japanese attack. This looks promising. Certainly the headline seems to make the stated point by Michael Flanagan, but wait.

But Mr Shirley said: “Based on all my research, I believe that neither Roosevelt nor anybody in his government, the Navy or the War Department knew that the Japanese were going to attack Pearl Harbour. There was no conspiracy.

“This memo is further evidence that they believed the Japanese were contemplating a military action of some sort, but they were kind of in denial because they didn’t think anybody would be as audacious to move an army thousands of miles across the Pacific, stop to refuel, then move on to Hawaii to make a strike like this.”

Is this the lesson in critical thinking we are supposed to learn? If you have learned anything from this post, you will follow my references to verify my telling of this. If you do, I think you will find what Michael Flanagan said was even more blatantly wrong than my excerpts would indicate.